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Voice-activated text and phone calling are not risk-free

Tennessee drivers may be interested to know that according to a new report, voice-activated appliances, such as voice-to-text, handless talking on the phone and even internet searching, are still dangerous to drivers. The use of these applications act as a mental distraction to drivers, making them more likely to miss visual cues, potentially resulting in a car accident or pedestrian accident.

A study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety discovered that these applications cause the driver's mental workload to increase and the amount of time it takes them to react to increase. The results of this study are crucial as three out of four drivers believe that hands-free devices are safer to use when driving than traditional manual texting and talking.

The AAA Foundation's study involved 150 participants who were asked to respond to voice-activated emails, text, talk on the phone and listen to an audiobook while driving in a simulator. While the drivers completed these activities, researchers measured their brain waves and eye movements.

The results of this study have been contested by the president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association. He argued that the study was methodologically flawed as the driving course and helmets the participants wore made for an unnatural driving atmosphere. The study's researchers, however, argue that electronics are being added to new vehicles without being fully investigated on whether or not they are safe for drivers.

Regardless of whether or not hands-free devices cause drivers to be mentally distracted, they will still be held responsible for any accident that they cause. Victims of accidents caused by drivers using voice-activated electronics may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, loss of wages and pain and suffering. An experienced Tennessee attorney may be able to help seek the most compensation by working with their client's insurance company.

Source: USA Today, "AAA: Hands-free texting and calling are not risk-free", Larry Copeland, June 12, 2013

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