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Hands-free technology more dangerous than most assume

The improvements in technology have been staggering over the past few decades. Many of these improvements are now incorporated into Los Angeles residents' vehicles, including a number of features designed to improve safety.

For instance, a top feature touted by many car makers is hands-free technology, which allows a driver to have a cell phone conversation while keeping his or her hands on the wheel. It is often assumed that hands-free technology is much safer because the driver is not as distracted as would be the case when the driver must hold the cell phone to talk.

And yet, these assumptions may not be supported by evidence. A recent study by AAA found that hands-free technology can be dangerous and distracting because drivers continue to be mentally distracted from the road. Perhaps even more troubling is the finding that drivers using hands-free technology may have somewhat of a technology "hangover," where the driver can continue to be distracted even after he or she stops using the technology.

Accordingly, hands-free technology can lead to car accidents caused by distracted driving in much the same way as other technology. No matter what is required of a person physically, it is the mental distraction from the road that causes most of the problems, including decreased reaction times when a driver in front of them brakes or turns.

When individuals are injured because of another driver's poor driving, it is often important to determine whether that driver was distracted at the time of the crash. Evidence of the distracted driving, such as cell phone records or other logs that can show the driver was focused on something else other than the road, can then be used against that driver to prove the driver's negligence.

Source: WIAT, "Study -- Hands-free technology still dangerous while driving," Susan Hogen, Oct. 23, 2015

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