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Does advanced in-car technology make TX drivers safer or more dangerous?

Hands-free headsets, in-car navigational tools and talk-to-text technology are all touted as safe alternatives, but safe may be a relative term.
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    December 06, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Does advanced in-car technology make TX drivers safer or more dangerous?

Numerous drivers in Dallas, Texas, make use of advanced in-car infotainment features during their daily commutes. For people who are currently buying a car, there is no shortage of technology that will purportedly stop distracted driving, which is one of the leading preventable car accident causes.

However, as more drivers become more dependent on these high-tech features, it is worth considering whether they actually increase attentiveness and save lives. Recent research has started to indicate that this technology may not be much of an improvement over outright texting, emailing, surfing or talking.

New technology: helpful or harmful?

Automakers and other parties have developed a number of tools to help drivers multitask without endangering anyone, in theory. Hands-free headsets, in-car navigational tools, voice-recognition software and talk-to-text technology are all touted as safe alternatives, but safe may be a relative term here.

The University of Michigan's Risk Science Center notes in a press release that hands-free technology can still be significantly distracting. According to the press release, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety studied people driving on roads as well as in simulations while facing various distractions. The biggest distractions, listed from most to least distracting, were:
-Doing difficult mental tasks
-Checking emails or texts with a text-to-talk application
-Talking on a cell phone
-Carrying on a conversation with passengers
-Listening to the radio

For the most part, the order of behaviors is not surprising, but the finding that using text-to-talk technology is more distracting than carrying on a conversation by cell phone goes against what many people believe.

Dallas News, a website affiliated with the Dallas Morning News, similarly reports that hands-free technology can still be distracting. The article cites a University of Utah study, which found that drivers who were distracted by things like phone conversations or GPS directions were less alert, even though they were not physically distracted.

Any driver can benefit from having a clearer, more realistic understanding of the effects that purportedly helpful infotainment technology can have. Although a distraction that is purely mental is better than a visual, physical and mental distraction, it may still be too much for drivers to handle.

Distracted driving in Texas

Distracted driving is especially a concern for drivers in Texas. Texting while driving is only banned for drivers under 18. Dallas News reports that research done by Texas A&M University last year found that 10 percent of Texas drivers were distracted by an electronic device.

In the absence of laws banning texting, many Texans may feel comfortable using handheld electronic devices while driving. Even drivers who are wary of certain distracted driving behaviors may feel like they are being safe when they use advanced vehicle technology features. Unfortunately, these cautious drivers may still be exposing themselves and others to danger.

If you have been injured in an accident involving a distracted driver, you should meet with an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney will be able to determine whether you have a case and can seek compensation.

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