There are so many things that can go wrong on the road that adding in the additional threat of a dangerous distraction isn’t worth it, just to answer a text or email a little faster. In order to cut down on the number of items that can pull attention away from the road, but still be able to use handy direction apps or listen to music, many drivers have started using voice recognition commands or in-vehicle entertainment systems, rather than a phone itself. One university looked at the distraction caused by such devices, and concluded that even hands-free devices can make a driver lose focus on the road.
University of Utah researchers, with support from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, sought to compare the three most popular versions of smartphone voice recognition software and ten of the most popular in-vehicle entertainment systems released in 2015 model cars. The study scored the systems on a 1 to 5 scale, with driving while totally focused on the road earning a score of 1, driving while listening to the radio a 1.2, and driving while attempting to memorize a set of words and solve a math problem earning a 5. The research uncovered that the most dangerously-distracting system was that of the Mazda 6, which earned a troubling 4.6 on the scale. The research team concluded that the user interfaces for these in-vehicle systems often made the difference between a high and low score, and suggested that the interfaces had not been subjected to as extensive testing as drivers might assume.
The study also calculated the average length of time required for a driver to regain their focus and return to giving full attention to the road after issuing a voice command to their in-vehicle system. Across all 13 systems, the average length of time required to be once more entirely mentally focused on the road was 27 seconds—long enough to drive over 350 yards when traveling at only 25 mph.
If you or a loved one have been injured by a distracted South Carolina driver, contact the experienced and knowledgeable Columbia personal injury attorneys at Peake & Fowler for a consultation on your case, at 803-788-4370.