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Drivers Not Distracted Using ‘Hands-Free’ Devices? Think Again

By Renee Nordstrand on June 18, 2013

In California, texting and driving is completely banned, but a motorist can still use hands-free device technology for talking and making calls while on the road.

A recent survey conducted by the Automobile Association of America’s (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety found that three out of four Americans nationwide believe that the use of hands-free devices, such as speech-based technologies, is risk free.

However, a recent study found that this is simply not the case.

“We know now that devices like voice-detect or voice-to-email systems can create substantial mental distractions, which can lead to degradation of driving performance, “ said Peter Kissinger, president and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Kissinger said that a recent study prepared for AAA by researchers at the University of Utah shows that the human brain isn’t really wired to multi-task and that it is “virtually impossible for the brain to do two complex things at the same time.”

Researchers tested reaction time in drivers who were being presented with a variety of distractions, such as conversing with a passenger or talking on hand-held phones or using hands-free devices.

The study found that some distractions, such as listening to the radio while driving, posed the lowest risk on a distraction scale of one to three. However, on that same scale, using voice-activated technology posed the highest risk of distraction (level three).

What does this mean if you have been involved in an automobile injury accident that was not your fault? The automobile accident attorneys at the Law Office of Reneé J. Nordstrand point out that even if a motorist is complying with the California cell phone law, it does not mean he or she is not dangerously distracted while behind the wheel.

Distracted driving is still negligent driving. A distracted driver who causes an accident is still liable for damages — whether that motorist was following the law or not.

If you have been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, call our Santa Barbara car accident attorneys at (805) 962-2022 or our Encino office at (818) 981-3530. We can also be contacted online. Your case review will be complimentary.