AAA study on cell phones in cars: “Hands-free is not risk-free”

Los Angeles Times:

Hands-free phone use while driving — for talking or, especially, for texting — is just plain dangerous, said researchers at the University of Utah who have studied distracted driving for more than a decade.

In a study funded by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a research and education arm of AAA, psychologist David Strayer of the university’s Applied Cognition Lab and colleagues found that using speech recognition technology to command devices while driving — even when eyes were on the road and hands were on the wheel — resulted in “a relatively high level of cognitive distraction.”

Talking on the phone or with a passenger was moderately distracting, the researchers found. Listening to the radio or a book on tape was not very distracting at all.

“The assumption that … voice-based interactions would be safe appears to be unwarranted,” the team wrote, in a report posted at the AAA website.  “Simply put, hands-free does not mean risk-free.”

Read the whole story: Los Angeles Times

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