New Technology Could Lead to An Increase in Car Accidents

In an increasingly wired world, the American public is becoming accustomed to remaining in constant contact throughout the day. Whether at work, at home or in our vehicles, California residents have come to expect the ability to communicate on demand. In fact, much has been made of the dangers associated with texting and driving, and some states have passed laws banning the practice, in an effort to reduce the occurrence of car accidents.

Automotive manufacturers have rushed to find solutions that would enable drivers to remain connected while not having to manipulate their mobile devices. The result has been a new wave of voice-recognition applications, which allow drivers to call, text, email and browse the web, all while keeping both hands on the steering wheel. However, a new study suggests that these technological advancements may in fact increase the likelihood of becoming involved in a serious auto accident.

The reasoning behind that conclusion lies in the fact that the human brain requires active engagement in order to communicate. The cognitive distraction posed by these devices is believed to be a hindrance to safe driving. Researchers found that test subjects who were using voice-recognition devices exhibited signs of impairment in the areas of the brain connected with the activity of driving.

For California drivers, the best way to protect against the risk of becoming involved in a serious car crash is to drive defensively. This means limiting the distractions within one's own car, and ensuring that conditions are as safe as possible while on the road. It also means being aware that others may not be so cautious, and that car accidents may be increasingly likely as more and more drivers use voice recognition technology while operating their vehicles.

Source: The New York Times, "Voice-Activated Technology Is Called Safety Risk for Drivers," Matt Richtel and Bill Vlasic, June 12, 2013

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