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Hands-free devices can still cause distracted driving accidents

The dangers of texting and driving are well-known. Many people in Massachusetts are even choosing to utilize hands-free devices while driving in an attempt to prevent distracted driving accidents. However, a recent study has revealed that these devices do not eliminate distractions while driving.

Distracted driving is a real problem. In 2013, over 3,000 people were killed in accidents involving distracted drivers. Of these, 23 percent involved young adults. While advances in technology intend to help reduce distractions, hands-free devices may not be sufficient.

A recent study conducted by the American Automobile Association and the University of Utah shows that the brain power to send a text with a hands-free device still removes drivers' attention from the road. Depending on the ease of using a hands-free system that allows a driver to send texts, the potential distraction can remain for up to 27 seconds after the activity. To put that in context, a car traveling 25 mph moves the approximate distance of three football fields in that time. Even with the use of hands-free devices, drivers may overlook pedestrians, traffic signs and other drivers.

Many people in Massachusetts are living with the aftermath of distracted driving accidents. While some drivers may think that the use of certain accessories or programs that allow them to use electronic devices without using their hands may decrease the level of distraction, this study shows that may not be the case. The consequences of such accidents are often tragic, potentially causing serious injury or death. Not only must victims overcome the physical and emotional ramifications of such accidents, many are overwhelmed with the financial consequences as a result of medical bills, funeral expenses and lost wages. Fortunately, there could be some relief for these victims if it can be proved that their suffering resulted from the acts of negligent drivers.

Source: NPR, "Even After Hanging Up, Hands-Free Isn't Risk-Free For Distracted Drivers", Kylie Mohr, Oct. 22, 2015

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