Hands free technology poses dangers

By Bianca Buono

bbuono@abc6.com

@BiancaBuono

Drivers have been told to put their phones down and use voice technology. But a new study done by AAA and the University of Utah shows that’s no longer the case.

"If you use your smart phone or your in-vehicle information system to make a phone call, send a text, or even change your radio station, that distraction that causes lasts long beyond the time that you do it,” said David Raposa of AAA of Southern New England.

Researchers compared technology in ten different 2015 vehicles and three types of smart phones. The results show that drivers can be distracted for up to 27 seconds after completing a task.

"Twenty-seven seconds at 25 miles per hour is probably the length of three football fields,” Raposa explained.

Pushing a single button on your phone or in your car may seem physically easy to do. But it isn’t a perfect system.

Raposa wasn’t surprised by the latest findings and it turns out, neither were several drivers in our area.

"I try to avoid any kind of distraction because of that and I think everyone should because it only takes a second,” said Sharon Ozga of Providence.

"Well it doesn’t surprise me because it seems like people are not paying attention. They’re in their own world when they drive,” said Greg Phillips of North Smithfield.

Currently in Rhode Island, texting while driving is illegal but talking on the phone is not. AAA is hoping that this new information will help to change that.

"It’s not the physical this. It’s the content of the conversation,” Raposa said.

Out of the ten vehicles that were tested, the Chevy Equinox performed the best. In the smart phone category, Google Now had the top results.

© WLNE-TV 2015