Mental Distraction – What It Means
Research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety confirms that mental distraction is real and dangerous, and deserves attention from automakers, consumer electronics manufacturers policymakers, safety advocates and the motoring public.
AAA has long warned that hands-free is not risk free. Just because a drivers’ eyes are on the road and hands are on the wheel does not mean a motorists is safely focusing on driving.
Motorists increasingly are using potentially distracting hands-free features, built into the vehicle or available on phones and other devices.
Notably, the use of speech-to-text technologies, such as features allowing drivers to listen and verbally respond to text messages or emails, and the use of personal voice assistance, result in a very high-level of mental distraction and significantly affects driver attention. While these technologies aim to prevent visual and manual distractions, they
could unintentionally provide motorists with a false sense of safety behind the wheel.
However, the research also finds that developers can help address mental distractions risks by making systems that are less complicated, more accurate and generally easier to use.
Motorists always should focus on the road when driving and only use potentially distracting technologies while safely parked. Read additional tips about preventing distractions in the vehicle.