Hands-free mobile technology has made such strides that it is not uncommon to see rows upon rows of devices promoting motorist safety while staying connected. Gadgets and gizmos allowing drivers to text, call, and even send email are practically ubiquitous these days, and with all the horrific accidents that have occurred in the past – related to distracted driving – it is only understandable that manufacturers of mobile communication devices invest in such safety measures. But, how much has hands-free tech really made it safer for motorists?
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety thinks that hands-free tech does not equate to motorist safety. Not in many cases. The organization has commissioned a study looking into the impact of hands-free tech on motorist safety, and the findings point to one simple, stark conclusion.
Hands-free tech makes it easier for motorists to do all the things they like/want to do on their mobile gadgets, but it does not mean that they are safer on the road because of it!
Truth be told, this is not at all surprising a conclusion. The AAA highlights the reason for this: increased mental workload. READ: distractions.
While a driver can technically keep his eyes on the road and his hands on the wheel thanks to hands-free tech, his brain is not extended the same courtesy. The fact is that the driver has to spread out his mental powers to deal with the road, driving, thinking about the message (or Facebook post, or whatever). This, obviously, can result in distracted driving, which can then result in unsafe driving or, worse, an accident.
Mobile phones and tablets are not the only cause of concern here. According to AAA President and CEO Robert L. Darbelnet, “There is a looming public safety crisis ahead with the future proliferation of these in-vehicle technologies. It’s time to consider limiting new and potentially dangerous mental distractions built into cars, particularly with the common public misperception that hands-free means risk-free.”
That does include music players and mobile TV screens, yes?
The next time you’re tempted to invest in expensive hands-free tech, you might want to consider your own habits first.
[Image via Belkin EMEA]