A new study from AAA could help to increase Missouri driver safety by showing that there is more to safe driving than keeping the hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Researchers compared speech-operated infotainment systems, expected to be in 62 million cars and trucks by 2018, with a variety of activities. Data showed that infotainment systems required more driver concentration than listening to the radio or audio books or having an in-person discussion and even having a discussion via hand-held phone.
Loss of concentration has tangible effects that increase the risk of car accidents. Researchers term the condition “inattention blindness.” It results in a tunnel vision that has drivers looking at a fixed point ahead of the vehicle instead of scanning the road and routinely checking mirrors. Even when looking straight ahead, tunnel vision can result in failure to spot red lights and other hazards. The president of AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety stated that this phenomenon helps explain commonly reported statements made to police investigators, such as “looked but did not see.”
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers argues that speech-operated devices are less risky than hand-held ones when other factors are accounted for. A study performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is thought to support this contention. The AAA study used cameras to track driver movements and measurement of brain activity in stationary, simulation and real driving situations.
The increasing number of electronics installed in modern automobiles is seen by many experts as a threat to public safety. The relative risks involved with any extraneous device can lead to an auto accident. The victims of distracted driving in Missouri may be able to pursue a civil lawsuit to recover compensation for damages with the assistance of a car accident attorney.
Source: Yahoo News, “Hands-free texting still distracting for drivers,” Joan Lowy, June 12, 2013