For years now, it has been against the law in Kansas for any driver to text and drive, and it is also illegal for new drivers to use a handheld cell phone and drive. The main determinant for these laws is that texting and driving, or using a handheld cell phone and driving, will distract the driver while he or she is operating a moving vehicle. The driver’s hands will be taken off the steering wheel, his eyes will be taken off the road, and his concentration will be diverted from driving safely.
Hands-Free Technology May Not Be the Answer
Kansas is not the only state to prohibit texting or limit handheld cell phone use while driving. Accordingly, hands free technology that allows a driver to text, email or make a phone call by voice and without the use of hands has recently become more popular. Yet, a new study finds that it might not be safer.
A recent AAA distracted driving study found that dashboard technology, which can allow a driver to text or email by voice, may be more dangerous than holding onto a cellphone while on a call. Researchers found that this technology, while it does conveniently convert speech into text, requires so much concentration from the driver that the driver develops “inattention blindness” or “tunnel vision.” In other words, the driver’s cognitive distraction from driving safely is so great that he or she may be more dangerous than if one hand was off the wheel to hold a cell phone.
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