Hands-Free Infotainment Isnt Risk Free, Safety Council Warns

08 May 2015 - By Eugene Herbert

Hi Folks…


Distracted driving – more importantly the side effects thereof – are being taken more seriously by a number of motorists. Sadly though some are under the impression that because they are talking ‘hands free’ it is safe.


Just because a car comes equipped with technology that allows one to talk or text hands-free doesn't mean it's safe to use while driving. The National Safety Council in the US produced a video which explains how in-vehicle infotainment systems can lead to cognitive distraction. We will happily provide the link to any readers wanting to find out more - Please email us.


Cognitive distraction is of greater significance than the drivers eyes simply be taken from the road or that one hand would be occupied with operating the phone while only using one hand to drive – not good!


The cognitive component is what the brain is busy with – simply put, it can’t focus on two equally important tasks at the same time. It would default to the task of greater importance which then inevitably would not be the task of driving = crash!


Distracted driving takes you away from the primary task of driving and surely, if something requires both your hands to do it effectively, your brain should be in on it too. Driving requires your full attention at all times. Below are some alarming statistics from Canada.


·         Cell phones are one of the most common distractions for drivers. Drivers engaged in text messaging on a cellular phone are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash or near crash event compared with non-distracted drivers. (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, 2010)


·         84% of distracted-driving-related fatalities in the US were tied to the general classification of carelessness or inattentiveness (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2009)


·         80% of collisions and 65% of near crashes have some form of driver inattention as contributing factors (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2010)


·         Distracted drivers are 3 times more likely to be in a crash than attentive drivers (Alberta Transportation, 2011)


·         Driver distraction is a factor in about 4 million motor vehicle crashes in North America each year


·         Children are four times more distracting than adults as passengers, and infants are eight times more distracting than adults as passengers


·         Economic losses caused by traffic collision-related health care costs and lost productivity are at least $10 billion annually. That's about 1% of Canada's GDP! (Government of Canada)


·         In 2010, distracted driving was a contributing factor in 104 collision fatalities in British Columbia (RCMP)


·         International research shows that 20% to 30% of all collisions involve driver distraction (Alberta Transportation, 2011)




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