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Tuscaloosa Car Accident Attorneys Say Auto Safety Features May Increase Accident Risks For Alabama Drivers

Oct 24, 2014 - Car Accidents by

On October 7th, AAANewsroom released a new warning that hands-free technology is not necessarily risk-free. They have issued significant warnings about distracted driving and hands-free devices in the past. However, the new report looks specifically at how poor design and errors can seriously reduce driver attention to the road. Our Tuscaloosa car accident attorneys recommend that clients do their homework before using any hands-free system while driving. If the use of a system is not second nature, just say “no.”

Some Car Models Rank Better Than Others

It is well known that hands off the wheel and eyes off the road are only two factors that contribute to distracted driving. Keeping the mind engaged on driving is critical. Many of today’s complex, confusing and error-prone hands-free systems are failing — whether drivers engage in talking, texting or even changing radio stations. Tests on changing radio stations and voice dialing revealed that some vehicles were better than others. Using a five-point category scale, where five was the highest cognitive distraction rating, AAA reports the following results:

  • Toyota’s Entune® system rated 1.7, the lowest cognitive distraction rating, making it a better choice than many other systems.
  • Hyundai’s Blue Link rated 2.2.
  • Chrysler Uconnect™ ranked 2.7.
  • Ford SYNC with MyFord Touch® ranked 3.0.
  • Mercedes COMAND® rated 3.1.
  • Chevrolet MyLink® had the highest rating in the test, at 3.7.

While the AAA report predicts that these systems will continue to improve over time, it is clear that drivers need to understand that these systems do not typically equate to safe driving. Our Tuscaloosa car accident attorneys have seen too many collisions caused by distracted drivers. We want everyone in Alabama to remain safe on the road.

Tips For Safe Use of Hands-free Systems

It is natural to want to make use of hands-free technology, but it is vital to ensure that all drivers in Tuscaloosa and elsewhere in Alabama are safe on the road. Our car accident attorneys recommend choosing a safe system, and then taking it one step at a time, as follows:

  • Learn while off the road: Every system works differently, and you need to know what to say and do to perform the hands-free tasks you want to do. Keep practicing until the tasks become intuitive. Then practice some more in low-traffic situations.
  • Check for system errors: In spite of testing by manufacturers, errors happen. You need to do your own extensive testing of commonly-used features to make sure no problems are likely to distract you during a critical moment on the road.
  • Avoid using systems in busy traffic: Even if you know every detail about your system, heavy traffic — or even notoriously dangerous roadways — are conditions that call for one hundred percent of your brain power. Regardless of whether you dislike the song playing on the radio or you receive a call or text from your favorite person, these hands-free opportunities can wait.

Unfortunately, you cannot prevent other drivers from distracted driving, so always remain watchful for signs of distractions in nearby vehicles. Over time, we believe that hands-free system improvements will create safer roadways. Until then, use caution.

Additional Resources:

Think You Know All About Distracted Driving? Think Again, Says AAA, June 12, 2013, By Nancy White, Director, AAA Public Relations

Distracted Driving, What Research Shows and What States Can Do, 2011, published by Governor’s Highway Safety Association

More Blog Entries:

Tuscaloosa Traffic Accidents — Cell Phones Not Only Distraction, Tuscaloosa Car Accidents Blog

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