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Is hands-free technology safe?

If you are like many other people in New Jersey, you may talk or text on your cellphone while behind the wheel. This dangerous practice can lead to serious car accidents, injuries and deaths. In New Jersey, and in many other states across the country, using a hand-held cellphone while driving is illegal. As a result, some have started using hands-free cellphones as a way to stay in compliance with the law. Studies show, however, that this advanced form of cellular technology may not be as safe as some think.

A study released by AAA involved a deeper look into cognitive distraction and cellphones, or how using a cellphone while driving can take a driver’s focus off the road. During the study, researchers asked participants to engage in several distracting activities while operating a vehicle equipped with monitors, as well as a simulator vehicle. These distractive tasks included the following:

  •          Listening to the radio
  •          Talking with a passenger in the vehicle
  •          Listening to an audio book
  •          Maintaining a conversation using a hand-held cellphone
  •          Talking with a hands-free cellphone
  •          Using voice activated technology to compose an email or text

While participants were driving, the monitors measured their heart rate, brain activity, response time and eye movement to determine the level of cognitive distraction. The results showed that using a hands-free cellphone was only slightly less distracting than using a hand-held cellphone. The hands-free model still generated a significant amount of cognitive distraction, which could lead to a deadly car accident.

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.

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