To reduce fatal accidents caused by truck drivers on their cell phones, a federal law mandates truckers use hands-free cell phones. But there’s new evidence that hands-free communication devices don’t do a good job in limiting distracted drivers.
Drivers using mobile devices such as cell phones are easily distracted from the road ahead and therefore are more likely to cause catastrophic accidents. Conventional wisdom is that using cell phones in the hands-free fashion minimizes such dangers. In response, more new automobiles today come with voice-activated programs that control the radio and even allow texting.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety undertook research into hands-free communication devices and distracted driving. The researchers looked at how drivers are affected when using smartphones and onboard hands-free technologies in some 2015 vehicles.
Drivers Remain Distracted Up to 27 Seconds
One conclusion of the study is particularly alarming. Researchers found that drivers using the voice-activated systems for the radio or texting remained distracted for as long as 27 secondsafter completing the task.
How significant is 27 seconds of continued distracted driving? Drivers in the study, going just 25 mph, traveled the length of three football fields in this time. And those were cars. A tractor-trailer weighing 80,000 pounds going 65 mph requires about two football fields to stop – that’s when the brakes are first applied. Just think how far the rig travels in those additional 27 seconds before the distracted trucker hits the brakes.
The AAA Foundation ranks mental distractions on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest. This new study ranked voice-activated cell phone texting systems as high as 4.1. The worst performing on-board voice activated system received a 4.6 mental distraction rating.
Distracted drivers now rank among the top three leading causes – along with drunk drivers and speeding drivers – for motor vehicle accidents in the country. Hands-free communication systems apparently do not lessen the risk.
If you were seriously injured or lost a loved one in a crash caused by a distracted driver, an attorney experienced in catastrophic motor vehicle accident lawsuits can pursue just compensation on your behalf.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.