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Penfield, N.Y. - Drivers think that voice control devices in their cars are safer but a new study found they can cause more distractions for drivers.
John Adamski loves his new car. It is equipped with the latest technology. He has voice commands which can be used while he is driving to make and answer calls. But Adamski cannot send texts or emails with voice control while he is driving. That is shut off. He likes it that way. Adamski told us: "seriously, anything you do while driving in the car can be a distraction from your driving."
The study by AAA used EEG's to measure the brain activity of drivers as they were faced with various distractions while using the voice controls in the car. What it found was that drivers had something called
"Inattention Blindness" where they were so focused on sending an e-mail that they couldn't see what was in front of them in the road. Some drivers blew through stop signs, and nearly missed hitting pedestrians and other cars.
They also had delayed reaction time.
Steve Pacer, from the Central and Western New York AAA told us people assume these devices are safe, because they are built-into many new cars. But Pacer said they can, in fact, be more dangerous.
He said the distractions were rated on a scale similar to those used to rank hurricanes. Sending emails with voice controls was rated, Category 3, which is considered dangerous.
Pacer said studies show that distractions like this lead to accidents. He said car makers seem to want to "one-up" each other by adding more and more technology to cars. He said it's too much of a distraction for drivers and is dangerous.
He said he hoped this study would remind drivers that they need to focus on the road, not on that new technology behind the wheel. As Pacer told us: "your hands are on the wheel, your eyes are on the road, your brain should be in on it too."