Distracted Driving With Hands-Free Devices

STATELINE (WIFR) -- Voice command technology has gotten pretty good on our cell phones, but it might make us worse drivers.

Tracy Hazen loves to use her hands free technology in her truck to call and text. Even though it helps keep her eyes on the road, she says her mind is not always focused on driving.

"I have to say that I’ve been guilty doing the voice texting so I know that it does create that same distraction as you know using your hands to create the text.”

New research from AAA proves that. Researchers tested drivers' mental abilities by having them do things like make calls or send emails using hands free devices while behind the wheel and of those tested most of them missed visual cues like stop signs.

"Their eyes stopped scanning as much, and so they were just kind of glaring straight ahead instead of looking to check blind spots."

Nick Jarmusz with AAA says that's just as dangerous as using your hands to text.

“It's a concept called inattention blindness, where even if something's right in front of you, your brain isn't processing it even if your eyes are seeing it."

Illinois lawmakers want to prevent those types of distractions with legislation that would ban drivers from using hand held phones. The bill is already on its way to Governor Quinn’s desk. The measure would still allow people to use speakerphone or Bluetooth devices.

Researchers say even listening to the radio is distracting but sending emails and texts is of course worse because that requires more thinking.

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