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Hands-free technology might not prevent a distracted driver

Your eyes might be on the road, but your brain is thinking about the last text message or phone call you just completed. Hands-free technology installed in new cars may not be the answer preventing a car accident caused by a distracted driver.

Laws banning cellphone use unless drivers use a hands-free device have been around for a number of years in Connecticut and in other states. The premise behind such laws was that handling a cellphone for talking was a distraction, but the distraction was minimized with a hands-free device. The same premise is behind laws prohibiting texting and driving.

Car manufacturers responded to the distracted driver problem with technology that allows motorists to text and drive, talk on the cellphone, or even change the music selection playing through a car’s speakers through voice activated commands. The theory behind the technology was that drivers would be less distracted by not having their attention diverted by having to use their hands.

According to the study, the problem that can result in a car crash is not just making the phone call or sending the text message. Researchers found that a driver’s attention was distracted for up to 27 seconds after completion of the call or text. This was because a person’s mind is still focused on the call or the text instead of on the tasks associated with driving safely to avoid a car accident.

The study points out that during the 27 seconds that a driver might be distracted, a car can travel 300 yards at a rate of speed of 25 mph. A car accident victim injured due to the conduct of a negligent driver who is distracted might have a right to compensation including medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages.

If you have suffered a serious injury in a New Haven car accident, a consultation with a personal injury attorney might help. An attorney review of the facts and circumstances of a car accident can offer a person answers to their questions and concerns about liability of the driver.

Source: Hartford Courant, “AAA Study: Driver Distraction Can Linger After Text,” David Moran, Oct 22, 2015

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