Study Finds Voice-Activated Technology Greatly Increases Risk Of Distracted Driving.

July 2, 2013

Our job as Buffalo personal injury lawyers frequently requires us to sue distracted drivers who caused personal injury accidents.  While the dangers caused by activities such as texting or using a hand-held cell phone are well known, a recent study conducted by a University of Utah research team indicates that supposedly safer technology – such as voice-activated email and texting – also are dangerously distracting to drivers.

The study involved measuring the degree of distraction to drivers by using cameras to record eye and head movements, measuring reaction time to red and green lights in their field of vision, and using an EEG cap to determine mental workload by measuring brain activity.  The drivers were tested under a variety of conditions which included listening to an audiobook, talking on the phone, and listening and responding to voice-activated emails.

The results of the study indicated that the level of distraction and mental workload required when using voice-activated email technology was greater than that posed when talking on a cell phone and posed an extensive risk.  Despite the fact that drivers could use both hands to drive when using this technology, the level of distraction was found to be even higher than when drivers talked on a hand-held phone.  As the level of distraction increased, drivers scanned the road less, failed to see visual cues, and had a slowed reaction time.

With pre-installed entertainment and information systems in new vehicles expected to increase five-fold in the next five years, the sponsor of the study, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, is calling on automakers and the government to carefully examine the role of hands-free technology in future vehicles and limit its use.

If you have suffered a personal injury caused by a distract driver, please feel free to call us at 716-400-0000 regarding your rights.