Tag Archive | "distracted drivers"

Distracted Driver or Efficient Entrepreneur? Dangers of Driving Using Hands-Free Devices

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We all know — don’t text and drive.  But according to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTA), an estimated nine percent of drivers on the road admit to using their cell phones while driving.  Even more sobering, statistics from the National Safety Council state that one in four car crashes, or 21 percent, of all car crashes in 2010 involved cell phone use.  Out of all the car crashes that occurred in 2010, 1.1 million of those accidents were cell phone-related.  No less than three percent of all of those accidents were caused by texting.


Hands-Free Technologies & Dangers


Using cell phones with a hands-free feature is actually no safer.  As a result of anti-texting laws, drivers rely on different forms of hands-free technology, including a Bluetooth ear piece or built-in car systems with voice-to-text technology.  People use in-car systems, apps and phone features to conduct business, make calls and reply to emails — all while behind the wheel.


Drivers who use a hands-free feature on their cell phone to talk or send messages are twice as likely to be distracted as drivers who don’t use a cell phone at all while driving, notes a scientific study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.  The study also indicates that drivers who use an in-car Bluetooth system are three times more distracted than drivers who drive cell phone-free.


CNNMoney spotlights a response-time study conducted by the same researchers of the AAA study.  Using a five-point scale, researchers discovered that it didn’t matter whether a driver was talking to a passenger or on a cell phone – using a hands-free device or holding the device.  Test subjects scored a 2.3 to 2.5 on that five-point scale.  Each of these tasks caused the same amount of distraction.


Drivers that used text-to-speech technology to navigate directions from a GPS system, for example, got a score of 3.1.  Talking on a phone or to another passenger caused a 15 percent delay in reaction time.  And the use of any type of text-to-speech technology caused a 25 percent delay in reaction time — a 10 percent increase over just talking to someone, whether in person or by phone.


Combating Distracted Driving


Chris Davis for Slash Gear revealed that Ford was going to bring back the knobs and buttons that control features on their high-tech navigation screens because customers complained that the touch screen system was too distracting.  It unsafely diverted attention away from driving and severely put all drivers and passengers on the road at risk.  This doesn’t mean that Ford intends to do away with the touch screen altogether; it only means that car owners can choose between the buttons, knobs or touch screen.


With the launch of the LTE network and the existing HSPA+ platform, T-Mobile will its expand high-speed coverage area.  This is great news for T-Mobile customers who travel and use the text-to-speech technology while driving.  The assurance that T-Mobile’s 4G coverage will be available in more areas may motivate drivers to get off the highway and stop at a safe off-road location to take care of important business.


Also, AAA hopes that car makers can work with technology companies to keep full infotainment features in cars, but to limit capabilities while the car is moving.  Keep in mind the biggest safety net of all is to take responsibility and avoid using your mobile device at all while driving your car.  Minor accidents and fatal consequences aren’t worth the risk.


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