Just How Safe for Driving Is Your Hands-Free Technology?

Just How Safe for Driving Is Your Hands-Free Technology?

Most people these days know of the perils of driving while distracted. As our awareness of the potentially fatal consequences of distracted driving grows, more and more drivers these days are turning to hands-free technology, much of it voice-based, in the hopes of avoiding the dangers of distracted driving. But is our reliance on hands-free technology justified?

Possibly, but probably not, according to a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, which found the effectiveness of a voice-based hands-free system was dependent on factors such as the accuracy of the technology and its ease of use.

The study found that the use of a voice-based hands-free system to text or email while driving was more distracting to a driver than talking on either a hand-held or a hands-free cell phone. Looking specifically at voice-based hands-free systems in the vehicles of six different auto companies, the researchers also found a variation in the distraction level of the systems when evaluating two activities drivers commonly engage in using the hands-free technology: changing radio stations and voice dialing.

Researchers also did a separate assessment of Apple’s Siri technology. According to the five-category ranking system used by the study, Siri did not score particularly well, coming in at a category four level of driver distraction (the highest, most distracting, category in the ranking system is a category five).

What can drivers take away from this research? Voice-based hands-free systems are not all equal, and some systems may be less effective at preventing driver distraction than others. The good news is that the AAA Foundation researchers have come to the conclusion that it is possible to design future hands-free systems that are safer.


After a car accident, an experienced attorney is one of the few people who will advocate for your best interests. Robert Greening is the principal attorney at Greening Law, P.C. He has dedicated his 24 years of practice to the litigation of wrongful death and serious injury cases. If you have any questions, contact Greening Law, P.C. at 972-934-8900.