Drivers: Don't think hands-free means risk-free

Posted at 11:25 AM, Apr 03, 2016

If you’re used to hands-free devices or own a vehicle with installed hands-free options, you may want to reconsider whether it really helps you keep your eyes on the road, as these devices may be riskier than you think. That's according to a new AAA study. 

To help start off Distracted Driving Awareness month, Denver7 went to someone who may know driving best -- a driving instructor.

“Distractions are more than just the distraction caused by cell phones and texting,” said Ben Baron, who owns Baron Education, which includes DriveSafeDriving Schools.

He has to constantly deal with changing technology in cars and changing habits among drivers.

In the Triple AAA study, drivers were tested using more than a dozen different hands-free options offered on cell phones and several 2015 models.

None of the devices passed. In fact, none were deemed safe.

The results also show that on average, a driver can be distracted for up to 27 seconds even after making a command, such as for directions or changing music on the radio.

“Think about all the time you’ve spent driving when you’re driving in a residential area,” said Baron, “and a young child darts out from behind a car or a ball comes across the street; things happen so quickly.”

The AAA suggests manufacturers focus on using the devices with the least amount of errors to help keep drivers from getting distracted and their eyes off the road.

As for drivers, the Association recommends keeping your focus solely on the task at hand: driving.

If you just can’t drive without using some kind of device, Baron offers this piece of advice:

“It is a social activity,” he said, “and you want to be mindful of what you’re doing to stay safe and what everyone else is doing as well.” 

Click here for a full report of the study. 


Sign up for Denver7 email alerts to stay informed about breaking news and daily headlines.

Or, keep up-to-date by following Denver7 on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.