Hands-free devices dangerous when used on the road, study finds

While most motorists understand the risks associated with talking on a handheld cellphone while behind the wheel, many assume that the use of hands-free technology significantly lowers the risk of causing an auto accident due to distraction. A recent study conducted by AAA and the University of Utah has negated that belief, however.

The researchers examined the cognitive function of participants as they drove while performing other tasks simultaneously. The study revealed that one of the more dangerous hands-free activities is using technology that translates speech into text, for either a text message or an email. Performing such a task was considered a Category three distraction, which significantly increases the risk of a motor vehicle accident.

The data from this study is particularly important considering the number of vehicles equipped for hands-free technology use and the public's belief about the safety of such technology. According to AAA, there are currently around 9 million vehicles on the road that have so-called infotainment systems installed. In addition, AAA surveyed Americans about the believed risk associated with hands-free technology -over 70 percent believed such technology was safe.

These erroneous beliefs could lead to distracted drivers causing motor vehicle accidents across the country.

Avoid serious distracted driving accidents in Connecticut

In an effort to reduce the number of distracted driving collisions across the country, many states - including Connecticut - have implemented laws to ban certain behaviors.

In Connecticut, all drivers are prohibited from using handheld cellphones while behind the wheel. In addition, Connecticut motorists are not allowed to text while driving. The laws are stricter for both bus drivers and novice drivers - both groups are banned from using cellphones of any type, including those with hands-free capabilities, when driving.

Connecticut law enforcement officers have recently taken steps to ensure these laws are being strictly enforced. The Connecticut Department of Transportation and police in Connecticut will increase enforcement of these distracted driving bans during four separate periods of time in 2013 and 2014.

Law enforcement officials hope this action will held to reduce the number of people who are killed and suffer personal injuries as a result of distracted driving accidents every year. In 2011 alone, over 3,330 people died in motor vehicle accidents caused by distracted drivers. In addition, approximately 387,000 people across the country sustained personal injuries in distracted driving accidents that year.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a distracted driving collision, consulting with a skilled personal injury attorney will ensure your rights are protected.