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Hands-free innovations can still result in a distracted driver

Drivers in New Orleans and across the country are keenly aware of the dangers of texting and driving and using smartphones while operating their vehicles. Given the way that car manufacturers and smartphone manufacturers are tasked with keeping up with the times while maintaining safety, it is a challenge to find ways to prevent a car accident while simultaneously allowing drivers to stay connected. However, even someone who is taking steps to avoid being a careless driver by using hands-free technology might still be at risk for a crash due to being a distracted driver.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has looked into the length of distraction a driver will face if he or she is using new innovations in technology to have voice commands operate smartphones and various systems while driving. It found that people can still be distracted for up to 27 seconds when sending text messages, changing entertainment channels, and dialing their phone while operating their vehicles. The idea behind the research is to look into cognitive distractions. It indicates that in spite of maintaining eyes on the road and hands on the wheel, there is still a lack of focus on driving.

Drivers could miss traffic signals, signs, and be unaware of pedestrians and other vehicles due to the use of this type of technology. A driver who is traveling at 25 miles per hour can travel up to 300 yards in those 27 seconds. This makes it possible that a car accident can occur as a result if the distraction in spite of the attempt to tamp down on the inherent dangers of using a smartphone or other forms of technology while driving. Even after completing the task with the technology, drivers remained distracted for more than 15 seconds.

Different activities had been assigned levels of distraction in past research. For example, listening to the radio was a category 1 mental distraction according to AAA, while using social media was category 4. Any form of distraction while on the road is dangerous. With that, those who are injured in a crash with a person who was distracted in any way needs to understand how to pursue compensation for injuries or fatalities to loved ones. Speaking to a legal professional experienced in filing claims after an auto accident is imperative for pursuing compensation.

Source: newsroom.aaa.com, "New Hands-Free Technologies Pose Hidden Dangers for Drivers," Oct. 22, 2015

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