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Hands-free devices still distract drivers in Colorado

Distracted driving is a very dangerous behavior behind the wheel and unfortunately, many drivers in Colorado drive distracted every day. Distracted driving increases the risk of being in a car accident and has contributed to many car accidents in Colorado.

Cellphone use plays a big role in distracted driving. To address the risks drivers face when they use a cellphone, automakers and technology companies turned to hands-free devices to try to keep everyone safe on the road. Despite the best intentions, a new study found that hands-free devices may actually increase the chances of getting into an auto accident

The study by the American Automobile Association and the University of Utah found that hands-free devices and voice-activated technology impairs a person's driving ability and can increase the chance of a car accident.

The study reported that drivers who use hands-free devices are still being cognitively distracted and using these devices increases their mental workload, making them more distracted behind the wheel. Drivers who participated in the study who used hands-free and voice-activated technology were less likely to see people or objects right in front of them, including pedestrians and stop signs and lights. 

The researchers said that hands-free devices slow down a driver's reaction time as well as increased the chances that the driver would have tunnel vision and not be aware of their surroundings while driving.

The public needs to be aware of the dangers of using hands-free devices while driving because many drivers believe they are safer to use than handheld cellphones. However, this is not the case and may actually increase the risk of an accident. Drivers should be very careful when using technological devices behind the wheel and make sure that their number one focus is on the road instead of on their cellphone or GPS device. 

Source: U.S. News, "AAA Study Shows Hands-Free Devices Are Not Distraction-Free," Colin Aylesworth, June 12, 2013

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