A recent Triple AAA Foundation for Traffic (“Triple AAA”) study draws attention to the risks of distracted driving. Distracted driving refers to drivers who talk, text, and dial, including hands-free devices, while operating a motor vehicle. It can also include those that eat or drink while driving. Triple AAA’s study illustrates that driving while distracted is very dangerous and plays a significant role in motor vehicle accidents.
Many cars today come equipped with “infotainment” systems operated by voice commands which allow drivers to keep their hands on the wheel. Despite being “hands free”, however, these systems are still mentally distracting. Triple AAA’s study found that after completing a task, mental distractions can continue for a period of 27 seconds; tasks such as sending voice activated text messages, talking on the phone and updating social media accounts increased the level of distraction.
The effects of mental distraction comes as a surprise to many. Nonetheless, the study demonstrates that drivers could miss stop signs, pedestrians, and other vehicles when their mind is trying to regain focus. The study’s authors encouraged drivers to be cautious when using voice activated systems.