In Rockford and throughout the state of Illinois, drivers are prohibited from using a hand-held device to talk, text, or access the internet while they drive. However, hands-free devices are still legal, in spite of two recent studies that show they pose significant risk of causing an accident.
One study, released in June 2013 by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, showed that talking on the phone—on a handheld or hands-free device—posed a moderate risk of causing an accident. Texting, using a voice-to-text application, posed a significant risk for causing a crash. Another study, released in April 2013 by Texas A&M Transportation Institute, showed that reaction times for drivers doubled when they were texting, regardless of whether they used a handheld device or dictated using a voice-to-text application.
The study results had little impact on Google and Apple, technology giants who recently announced plans to integrate their technology with new cars by the end of 2014.
In January 2014, Google announced the Open Automotive Alliance, a plan to work with automakers including Audi, GM, Hyundai, and Honda, to integrate Android devices and cars. The first cars with Android integration will launch at the end of 2014.
In March 2014, Apple announced an initiative of its own—the “CarPlay” system. The system integrates in-car entertainment systems with the iPhone, allowing for easier hands-free calling, texting, and navigation.
Although many Android and iPhone users are excited about the announcements, safety experts have concerns about the link between hands-free devices and distracted driving accidents. Bruce Hamilton, manager of research and communications at the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety commented, “The idea that people want to be on their phones—and therefore let’s give them a way to do that—that’s not putting safety first; that’s putting convenience and the desire to be in touch first.”
What do you think of these latest efforts to integrate hands-free technology with the cars we drive? Leave us a comment below or connect with us on Facebook.