Study shows hands-free tech may still be a big driving distraction
Hands-free technology on the road may not be making it less distracting for those behind the wheel.
Those are the findings from a new study from AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, showing the worst performing systems can preoccupy a driver for up to 27 seconds after interacting with it.
“The frustration that people may have when they try to use this technology causes them to concentrate for a far more and deeper amount of time than they really might be aware that they’re investing in that activity,” Jim
Lardear, a spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic.
Lardear also points out that in a recent survey of Delaware drivers, 67 percent of them guessed they’d only be distracted for up to 10 seconds after sending a hands-free text or shuffling through a playlist.
“The scary thing is that the worst performing voice-activated technology – whether that’s a car or a cell phone – creates a mental distraction that drivers are unaware that they may be having and this could lead to inattention blindness,” said Lardear.
Of the 2015 vehicles tested, the Mazda 6 performed the worst, followed by Microsoft’s Cortana interface.
Apple’s Siri ranked in the middle of the pack, with the Chevy Equinox driving away with the best rating.
Lardear says the results don’t mean companies shouldn’t develop hands-free tech, but that they should make them more intuitive and seamless to be less of a distraction on the road.