Most people know that texting or talking on the phone while driving a car can be distracting and dangerous. In many states, it is illegal. However, most states have created an exception if you’re using a hands-free device.
· talking on a hands-free phone is just as dangerous as talking on a hand-held phone.
AAA found that using voice commands to text a friend created a “large” amount of mental distraction, while talking on the phone or talking to a passenger were only a “moderate/significant” distraction.
The study used a driving simulator that measured reaction time and brainwave activity to determine what activity what was most distracting. Then, the participants performed a real road test using a hands-free device.
The results showed greater distraction with the hands-free device. Researchers believe it is in part because it takes longer to use voice commands than to simply text.
There are now 41 states (including Oregon) where handheld texting while driving is illegal, but no federal regulations regarding the subject. The Department of Transportation issued guidelines in April asking automakers to prevent internet browsing or the use of social media through in-vehicle systems, and urged them to design screen-based systems so that drivers don’t have to take their eyes off the road for more than two seconds at a time.