AAA: Hands-Free Devices Still Can Distract Drivers

Oct 23, 2015

Research assistants introduce study participants to special devices designed to gauge mental distraction during road tests.

A new report from the American Automobile Association (AAA) finds that hands-free technologies can mentally distract drivers even if their eyes are on the road and their hands are on the wheel.

Fran Mayko is a spokesperson for AAA in Connecticut. Mayko said the report shows that after a driver uses voice-activated systems to make a call, text, or select music, a driver can still be distracted for up to 27 seconds after finishing that task.

“So you’re traveling 25 miles per hour, you’ve traveled nearly 1,000 feet in those 27 seconds before your mind has re-adjusted to the task of driving,” she said.

Mayko said that could mean not seeing a stop sign or a pedestrian in the road.

In the report released on Thursday, AAA tested hands-free systems in 10 different car models and found that many systems are error-prone. AAA is urging car manufacturers to develop voice activated systems that are safer and easier to use.