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Distracted Driving: Use of Voice Activated Systems May Lead to More Car Accidents

| Oct 10, 2014 | Firm News

Most people know that distractions such as texting while driving or talking on your cell phone can result in a car accident.  This is why California changed it laws to prohibit texting while driving and to require hands-free use of cell phones.  However, as San Diego New 8 reports, two new studies were released on Tuesday by the AAA Foundation for Traffic and Safety and University of Utah that found that using voice-activated systems on your smartphone or dashboard information systems, intended to abate drive distraction, may be making the distracted driving problem worse instead of better.

These studies focused on voice activated systems that let drivers do things like send a text message or make a phone call while keeping their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel, such as built in infotainment systems in various car models and Apple’s Siri.  The studies determined many of these systems are ridden with errors or so complex that they require more concentration from drivers rather than less, resulting in more car accidents according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the University of Utah.

The voice-activated systems were graded on a distraction scale of 1 to 5, with 1 representing no distraction and 5 comparable to doing complex math problems and word memorization.  The systems were tested by 162 university students and volunteers. Apple’s Siri received the worst rating, 4.14. Twice test drivers using Siri in a driving simulator rear-ended another car.   Many in car systems were rated more distracting for drivers than simply talking on a hand-held cellphone.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which regulates vehicle safety, has issued guidelines to automakers for dashboard systems and is working on similar guidelines for cellphones and voice-activated systems, but the guidelines are voluntary.

These studies indicate that drivers that are attempting to abide by California law and operate their phone “hands free” may be more distracted and at risk for causing a car accident.  We recommend to always use extreme caution when using these features in your vehicle.

If were injured as a result of a distracted driver using a cell phone, texting or simply talking on a hands free device, the experienced car accident lawyers at Martinez & Schill can help.  Our office serves Southern California, from San Diego to Riverside.  We will fight for your rights and do not take a fee unless you recover.