Chicago injury attorney Howard Ankin is cautioning drivers about the dangers of hand-free technology, and he says that a new study highlights the risks. A recent study from AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety found that some hand-free technologies are actually distracting to the point that they could increase accident risk.
To conduct the study, researchers tested a wide variety of in-car hand-free technologies. They rated the complexity of the technologies on a scale from one to five. A rating of one indicated that the technology was as distracting as changing the car’s radio station. A rating of two indicated the distraction level of talking on a cell phone. Ratings three through five represented increasingly elevated levels of distraction.
Even though many hand-free technologies advertise similar features, researchers found that there was a significant amount of variance between the different systems. For example, Toyota’s Entune was rated at 1.7, the lowest level of distraction among the tested systems. Chevrolet MyLink was rated at 3.7, substantially more distracting than using a hand-held device. Apple’s Siri earned a high 4.0 distraction rating.
Howard Ankin, partner and owner at Ankin Law, LLC, said that many drivers assume that hand-free systems are safer than cell phones. “These things are promoted as safety features,” he said. “But anything that’s distracting poses a risk. If they’re more complicated to use than a cell phone, it really doesn’t matter that they’re hands-free.”
AAA has said that it will work with car manufacturers to make hand-free systems safer. One point of emphasis is the system’s accuracy in understanding voice commands. When the system doesn’t understand commands, drivers often go to great lengths to input the correct command. That can cause drivers to miss lights, signs, and even other cars.
Says Mr. Ankin, “The safest option is to simply keep one’s eyes and focus on the road at all times. However, that we know that isn’t always feasible. Car manufacturers can make roads safer by improving the accuracy of these features.”
To coincide with, Howard praises the new legislation presented that would ban the Google Glass for all drivers in the State of Illinois. Stating that the device can prevent drivers from keeping their full attention on the road.