Hands Free Is Just as Dangerous While Behind the Wheel - KMSP-TV

Hands Free Is Just as Dangerous While Behind the Wheel

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A new study by AAA finds hands free texting isn't safer behind the wheel, than using a hand-held device.  So we put the theory to the test,  Alexandra Limon got behind the wheel and went through a driving course set up by the auto club.

She began by sending hands free text messages.

Then she got a phone call she tried to pick up using a hands free feature on her phone.

Alex hit the cones on the course, several times, while doing these tasks.

One would assume that if your hands are on the wheel and eyes are looking forward, it would be safer.  Dr. Steven Bloch of AAA explained why that's not necessarily the case.  "Drivers develop inattention blindness, where you look but you just don't see," said Dr Bloch.

Dr. Bloch said it's like tunnel vision, the driver's attention is still on the task of texting or calling, meaning their focus isn't on the road.  And drivers lose sight of anything that's not directly in front of them, that includes cars or people that are approaching from the sides.

Cars with built in, hands free, systems called "infotainment" systems are becoming more popular.  Infotainment systems enable drivers to text, call or even go online right from their dash board.   RIght now there are 9 million cars on the road with infotainment systems, and AAA estimates by 2018 there will 62 million of those cars on the road.

That's why AAA wants drivers, cell phone companies and car manufacturers to know, hands free doesn't equal safer.

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