August 23, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- In response to the media's justified demonization of using handheld cellphones or texting while driving, many motorists have become informed of the risks of using such devices. In an attempt to increase their safety and avoid the heightened risk of having a car accident
, many have decided to switch to hands-free or voice-activated devices. Although it is a widely held belief that such devices are safer than handheld models, a recent study from the University of Utah and AAA has proven otherwise.
For the study, researchers measured how severely several types of devices and activities distracted motorists' brains while they were driving. To do this, they fitted the subjects' cars with cameras to measure their eye movements and put electroencephalographic caps on the drivers to measure the "mental workload" of each device and activity.
Cognitive distraction was measured on a scale of one to three. Listening to the radio was found to be a category one distraction, which carried minimal risk. Using a cellphone regardless of whether it was handheld or hands-free was found to be a category two distraction, which carried a moderate risk. The most cognitive distracting activity that the study found was listening and responding to a voice-activated email program while driving, which was classified as a category three distraction.
The results of the study are alarming because automakers are increasingly using such technology in new car models. The voice-activated technology is available for a variety of tasks, everything from checking email to playing movies for passengers. According to AAA, there are currently 9 million motor vehicles on the road with such technology. This number is expected to increase dramatically as Americans buy newer cars.
Unfortunately, the majority of Americans are ignorant about the danger that such technology poses. According to a recent AAA survey, about 70 percent of Americans believed that voice-activated devices are safer than manual models. In reality, driving is a complicated task for the human brain. As the brain can only give each task a limited amount of attention, any cognitive-intensive task (such as speaking to a voice-activated computer) on top of driving can overtax the brain, making the driver more likely to make mistakes.
Consult an attorney
In Massachusetts, it is illegal to read, compose or send a text while driving. Alarmingly, a recent survey found that despite the dangers that texting can cause, about 25 percent of Massachusetts drivers said that they would not modify their behavior. Fortunately those who are injured by such careless behavior have the right to file a lawsuit to recover financial losses resulting from the injury.
If you or a loved one have been injured by a careless or inattentive driver, you may be entitled to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. An experienced personal injury attorney can work to hold the responsible party accountable for his or her negligence.
Article provided by Denner Pellegrino LLP
Visit us at www.dennerlaw.com