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Hands-Free Devices Are Not So Safe After All

Posted on Oct 09, 2014

By now, most people understand the dangers of texting and driving and other distracted driving habits. Some people think the solution to this deadly epidemic is voice-activated devices. Although it seems logical, a recent Fox News article titled “New studies point out dangers of ‘talking’ to car” shows that hands-free doesn’t necessarily mean safe.

With more than 500,000 accidents caused annually by distracted driving, companies are developing hands-free interfaces to address the problem. However, the early returns indicate they might be having the opposite effect.

Two new studies indicate that voice-activated devices may actually be making the distracted-driving epidemic worse. Upon examination, the hands-free interfaces seemed to be so error-prone that they require more concentration from drivers.

In the experiments, drivers were asked to do basic things like send texts and post on social media using different voice-activated systems. Each voice-activated system was then graded on a scale of one to five; one being no distraction and five similar to doing complex math.

Many of the voice-activated systems performed so poorly that they were rated as more distracting than a simple hand-held cell phone. Some of the test drivers got into accidents in the driving simulator.

The problem with voice-activated systems is that many of them have a hard time identifying clear, distinct commands. This leads people to concentrate more on their voice commands than the road ahead.

In order for a voice-activated system to be safe to use while driving, it needs to be clear, simple and quick. It’s a difficult position for manufacturers who are looking to keep people connected and safe at the same time.

The personal injury law firm of Hupy and Abraham, S.C. encourages people to stay focused on the road and avoid distracted driving habits. The firm has given away thousands of FREE “DNT TXT N DRV” bumper stickers to raise awareness of this important issue.