We tend to assume that it’s the act of looking at the phone instead of the road that makes texting while driving so dangerous. This is partly true. There is no denying that it is hazardous to take one’s eyes off the road and one’s hands off the steering wheel to text or talk on the phone.
However, according to a recent article in The New York Times, voice-activated technology in cars doesn’t necessarily make them any safer. If it was merely looking away from the road and pushing buttons that posed the sole dangers, being able to speak to the car should solve those problems, but it doesn’t.
Research by the nonprofit AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that distracted driving involves far more than a visual focus and physical presence. Distracted driving is essentially about distraction – and that can occur when people use voice-activated technology just like it occurs when someone is texting.
Distraction Continues Even After The Interaction Ends
After a person stops talking to his or her car, it’s hard to shift mental gears. It takes concentration and effort to interact with the technology, even if you don’t have to press a single button. In fact, the AAA Foundation found that it can take up to 27 seconds for a driver to refocus on the task of driving after using voice-activated technology.
Out of 257 drivers included in the AAA Foundation study, ranging from age 21 to age 70, those over age 50 seemed to have the most trouble refocusing after using the technology. Nevertheless, even the much younger drivers were not immune from lingering distraction.
Take Advantage Of Florida’s Safe Phone Zones
In June 2015, the Florida Department of Transportation and other entities kicked off an effort to reduce distracted driving accidents. This involved creating 64 different “Safe Phone Zones” across the state.
The goal was to give drivers a safe alternative to using their phones while driving. However, these designated areas are also a great place to pull over and use voice-activated technology, eat a snack or do anything else that takes your mind off the road.
If you were a victim of someone else’s distracted driving, consider contacting a lawyer skilled in this area of personal injury law. He or she can advise you about your full range of rights and options.