Hands-free-technology causing more road danger: AAA report - KMSP-TV

Hands-free-technology causing more danger on the road: AAA report

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A report released by AAA Wednesday morning shows that the new hands-free technology in cars, intended to prevent distracted driving and increase safety, is really making roads more dangerous for motorists.

You can update your Facebook status or Twitter account from behind the wheel of a moving vehicle.

AAA looked at these technologies in a lab and on the road. Multi-tasking behind the wheel can be dangerous, even if the driver has both hands on the steering wheel and eyes on the road. Even books on tape can be distracting.

AAA fitted drivers with caps that monitored brain activity. They found that mental workload affects reaction time. The study indicated that the brain has only so much bandwidth.

"It really interrupts our brain's ability to focus on the roadway," AAA CHicago's Beth Mosher said. "When people are engaging in these hands free activities, their brain is not focused on the road, even though their eyes may be on the road. They are scanning the road less often, missing visual cues like pedestrians, stop signs, those types of things. Their reaction time is slowed. They can even enter into what they call this in attentive blindness, where their eyes are focused on the road but brain isn't processing what's going on."

AAA used a distraction scale to measure in the study. Listening to the radio rates a "1." Talking on the cell phone rates a "2." They said the in-vehicle technology rates a "3," which they call an extensive risk to driving.

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