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Hands-Free Voice Technology Can Pose an Accident Risk

The recent passing of the Georgia Hands-Free Law is intended to reduce the number of distracted-driver related traffic accidents.  But did you know that using hands-free, voice-activated technology to operate your cell phone while driving actually poses its own set of challenges?  A new study finds that the more complex the task you are performing using voice-activated technology, the greater the distraction level and danger to you.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recently conducted a study of the various types of voice-activated technologies that are now present and built-in in so many automobiles these days. These new technologies allow motorists to perform a variety of tasks without moving their hands away from the steering wheel or their eyes from the road. Motorists may use these technologies for reading and dictating text messages, sending and reading e-mails, and even posting on Facebook and other forms of social media. However, as the research suggests, the technology is not entirely foolproof.

The researchers at the AAA Foundation found that the more complicated and complex the task, the greater the distraction level. Advanced commands, like those used for sending e-mails or posting on Facebook, seemed to pose a much more dangerous level of distraction to motorists, compared to tasks that were less mentally challenging.  Most motorists do not consider driving using voice-activated technology to be a major risk. However, if you find yourself looking at your cell phone to spell check an email, the lack of visual attention to the road, even for a few seconds, could cause a serious accident.

How can motorists use voice-activated technology to safely operate in-car communication and entertainment technology? Experts say that the use of voice-activated technology should be kept to the bare minimum. Your car is not the place for you to engage in communication, and use of your cell phone for e-mailing or messaging should be restricted to the absolute minimum. According to the new Georgia Hands-Free Law, a driver cannot write, read or sent a text, email or engage in any other social media or data related activity while driving.  In fact, the Georgia Hands-Free Law requires that a driver to not have a phone in their hand or touching any part of their body while driving.   If you have a passenger in the vehicle with you, ask the to help respond to any messages or calls so you can focus on driving.  To be safe, keep your phone on silent so you’re not distracted while you’re driving.  And for obvious reasons, entertainment activities on your phone like playing video games or watching videos should never be done while driving.

Recognizing the limits of voice-activated technology, and minimizing the use of such technologies is the best way to remain safe behind the wheel. Understand and remember that these technologies are not entirely fool-proof, and any time you take your attention away from the task of driving, you open yourself up to the risk of a potentially serious car accident.

The Atlanta car accident lawyers at the Katz Law Firm represent persons injured in car accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia.