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Is Hands-Free Driver Really Safer? Study Says No

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Vehicle manufacturers may have come up with the idea of the In-Vehicle Information System (IVIS) as a way to help drivers avoid from being distracted and off their cell phones, but one study found that even hands-free driving causes a dangerous lapse of road concentration for the driver, which can lead to serious – if not fatal – distracted driving crashes.

The study was conducted by the American Automobile Association (AAA) and the University of Utah. There were 257 people who participated in the study and each participant had one of 10 different model vehicles equipped with IVIS. The time-frame of the evaluation lasted five days, however, before the evaluation period begin, each person had a week in order to become familiar with the way the system worked.

Once the data was evaluated, the researchers concluded that it takes up to 27 seconds for a person who uses an IVIS to become refocused and fully alert onto the road again. For example, a car going at a speed of 25 m.p.h. can travel the length of three football fields before the driver is fully cognizant of his surroundings after using one of the IVIS commands, such as dialing a phone number or finding a new music station.

The conclusion here is that the mental distraction can be just as deadly as manual distractions are and puts into doubt the safety of hands-free driving, despite the dozen or so states which have enacted hands-free driving laws. Multiple studies have reached the same conclusion, including one study conducted by Harvard University researchers which found that more than a half million injuries could be prevented every year if banning talking on cell phone while driving laws were enacted.

Every year there are more than 3,000 people killed in distracted driving crashes, and at least another 425,000 people are injured. Of the 2.5 million car accidents that happen every year, 1.6 million involve a cell phone. That means that almost 65 percent of all car accidents in this country involve a cell phone. These are all needless and preventable deaths and injuries. Drivers need to turn off their cell phones and focus on what is going on around them.

If you have been injured in a car accident involving a driver who was distracted and not paying attention, contact a skilled Virginia car accident attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have for your injuries. Our VA personal injury firm has successfully represented many clients who were injured by careless drivers. Our firm also offers a free guide which addresses the risk of distracted driving.

Randy E. Appleton
Virginia Beach & Norfolk Personal Injury Lawyer
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