A recently published study in neuroscience is raising questions about the rise of voice-activated technology in vehicles and whether claims of its safety can be trusted.
While this technology allows drivers to interact with phones and built-in devices using voice commands rather than pushing buttons, research shows that voice-activation can also be incredibly distracting, and one study found that particularly complicated voice-activated systems can engage a motorist’s mind for as long as 27 seconds, while less complex systems can still distract drivers for as long as 15 seconds. Apple, Google, and Microsoft are among their most prominent manufacturers.
Neuroscientist David Strayer of the University of Utah led the recent study, funded by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, which claims that voice-activated systems in cars require drivers to reorient themselves to the road after issuing commands. This requires brain-power similar to “balancing a checkbook while driving,” according to Strayer, and “when you hang up, you have to figure out where you are, how fast you’re going, where other vehicles are.” Peter Kissinger, chief executive of the AAA Foundation, says “the lasting effects of mental distraction pose a hidden and pervasive danger that would likely come as a surprise to most drivers.”
Unfortunately, voice-activation is not the only form of multi-tasking technology on the rise among drivers. Texting while driving, despite widespread efforts to raise awareness of its dangers, also continues to increase according to AAA Foundation surveys. Dr. Strayer’s study used 257 drivers ages 21 to 70, all in 2015-model cars, and can be found online.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a distracted driver, contact Mike Agruss Law, LLC for a free consultation. We are a Chicago-based injury law firm representing individuals (and their families) who have suffered an injury in an accident. We will handle your case quickly and advise you every step of the way, and we will not hesitate to go to trial for you.
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