Is Hands Free Driving Safe?
According to a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 3 out of 4 drives believe hands-free use is safe. However, the study found that hands-free systems in vehicles can distract drivers more than was previously believed. The results of the study revealed the following:
- The accuracy of voice recognition software significantly influences the rate of distraction;
- Composing text messages and emails using in-vehicle technologies was more distracting than using these systems to listen to messages;
- Use of Apple’s Siri generated a relatively high level of mental distraction;
- Using an error-free speech-to-text system to listen to and compose emails or texts was more distracting than talking on a hand-held or hands-free cell phone or listening to the radio.
AAA is asking developers of hands-free systems to address key contributing factors to mental distraction including complexity, accuracy and time on tasks, with the goal of making systems that are no more demanding than listening to the radio or an audiobook. AAA is also using its findings to continue a dialogue with policy makers, safety advocates and manufacturers.