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Study: hand-free technology still distracts drivers

An unidentified woman uses a "hands-free" headset to make her driving easier and safer. Proposals to..
An unidentified woman uses a "hands-free" headset to make her driving easier and safer. Proposals to..

UNDATED (WRN)   New research from the AAA raises some serious questions about the safety of hands free technology. Pam Moen with AAA-Wisconsin said data compiled by researchers at the University of Utah show hands free technology carries its own set of risks for distracted driving.

Many drivers are under the false impression that if it’s hands free, it’s risk free. “The results are showing that using in hands free technology can actually be more distracting and put you at greater risk than even using a cell phone,” Moen said.

Researchers found using hands free devices to do things like text, talk on the phone, or even use Facebook can lead to dangerous mental distractions even when drivers keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road. “A lot of people have the false impression that if its hands free, it’s risk free,” Moen said. “There are a lot of people I’m sure, who purchased vehicles with these components thinking that . . . it was somehow safer.”

AAA is asking the automobile industry to consider limiting new and potentially dangerous mental distractions built into cars. Moen said the hard data supplied by the research should raise the awareness of drivers to the risks of the new technology.

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