Debra L. Broz

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Does hands-free tech really cut down on crashes?

On Behalf of | Mar 12, 2020 | car accidents

Residents of Kentucky spend a lot of time on the road. In this time, many also rely on technology to get where they need to go. Unfortunately, even GPS systems can distract drivers. Hands-free technology supposedly helps drivers bridge that gap. But how much does hands-free tech actually help?

Understanding what causes driver distraction

The National Safety Council has a campaign slogan called “hands-free is not risk-free”. This summarizes their opinion on the matter. According to them, you cannot guarantee a driver’s safety with hands-free technology. This is because hands-free tech does not address every aspect of distraction.

Distracted drivers suffer from three primary sources of distraction. This includes cognitive, physical and visual distraction. Hands-free tech takes care of physical and visual distraction. It allows you to keep your eyes on the road, using voice commands and speaker systems instead. It also lets you keep your hands on the wheel. You do not have to touch your GPS or phone to navigate it. You can use voice commands for that as well.

The risks of cognitive distraction

But what about cognitive distraction? This type of distraction occurs any time your thoughts go to something other than driving. Paying attention to an electronic device in any way is a type of cognitive distraction. Even if your GPS is narrating your directions to you aloud, this is still a cognitive distraction.

Unfortunately, cognitive distractions are among the most dangerous. Distraction lasts up to 15 minutes after a conversation. The fact that hands-free tech does not cut down on cognitive distraction means there is still a big risk.