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Safety features may increase distracted driving

If drivers believe that the most dangerous driving distraction in the Sartell area and across the country is texting, they could find themselves in for a rude awakening. According to a study on MarketWatch.com, programming navigation devices on the vehicle's dash is the most distracting thing a driver could do on the road, with texting a close second.

It is no secret that driving distractions impact road safety. Driving is a task that requires complete focus. However, motorists may not realize that mental distractions alone can lead to crashes, even when both hands stay on the wheel.

Hands-free tech is distracting

Research conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety revealed that using a voice-activated system to complete a task such as changing the station on the radio or making a call could distract a driver for 15 to 27 seconds after the fact. Going 25 mph, this length of time would take the vehicle across the length of approximately three football fields.

Researchers studied drivers' interactions with various voice-activated systems on phones and in vehicles to determine how well the systems eliminated distractions. They used a ranking system to define the level of distraction, and then rated the systems based on those levels.

Categories of tasks from least to most distracting are:

  1. Listening to an audiobook or the radio
  2. Having a phone conversation
  3. Using a messaging system with no errors to send a voice-activated text
  4. Using social media
  5. Performing a test designed to overtask a driver's mental focus

The least distracting voice-activated system ranked as a level two distraction, and the worst was nearly a five on the distraction scale.

Because eliminating errors can lower the risk of using a system, drivers may want to read all the instructions and practice the voice controls before leaving the driveway. Anyone who has suffered grievous injury due to a motorist's negligence and distraction should speak to an attorney to learn options.

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