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Responsible drivers all know by now that looking down at a phone or texting while out on the road can cause a major, possibly deadly, distraction. As a result, phone and automotive manufacturers have created voice recognition and console systems which allow drivers to access some of their phone's capabilities, such as voice calling and stored media, without needing to handle their phone. According to recent studies, researchers have found that the hands-free nature of these systems doesn't actually eliminate the distraction for drivers, and that distractions last even longer than scientists had previously thought. 

The study, conducted by the University of Utah alongside the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, sought to analyze how distracted drivers were by ten different vehicles' in-vehicle entertainment systems, along with the three most popular smartphone voice recognition systems (namely, Google Now for Android, Siri for Apple's iOS, and Microsoft's Cortana for Windows phones). The study created a simulated driving experience for the test subjects and scored the distraction created by the systems on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being distraction-free driving and 5 being driving while solving math problems and memorizing a list of words. The highest-scoring in-vehicle entertainment system was found to be the most recent model year of the Mazda 6, which scored a startling 4.6 on the distraction scale. Microsoft's Cortana system was the second-most distracting system, scoring a 3.8 on the scale. The least distracting hands-free system was that of the Chevy Equinox at 2.4, still considered by researchers to be a moderate distraction. More shockingly, the study revealed that, for an average of 27 seconds after a driver stopped interacting with a hands-free system, they remained mentally distracted, such that they would miss stop signs or obstructions ahead of them in the road, a distraction that can lead to serious or deadly accidents. This length of time is long enough for a driver to travel the length of three football fields when driving at 25 mph. Clearly, hands-free systems are a long way from being truly safe for drivers to use while behind the wheel.

If you have been injured in a New Jersey accident that was caused by a distracted driver, seek out knowledgeable and trial-ready legal counsel to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries by calling Morristown personal injury lawyers Smith & Doran for a consultation on your claims, at 973-292-0016.

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