Growing Hands-Free Options Concern Safety Experts

BOSTON (CBS) – Automakers are using new technology to make it easier for people to stay connected behind the wheel, without breaking the law.

Nearly every automaker now offers some kind of hands-free option. Vehicles come with voice-activated phone, radio and GPS systems. Now some makers are even marketing voice-to-text systems that will allow you to update your Facebook status.

However, the National Transportation Safety Board is concerned about this new trend, particularly since some studies show even hands-free phones can cause a driver to become distracted.

WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben reports.

“When you are on the road your primary responsibility is to make sure you get to your destination safely. It’s not to conduct business, not to socialize. It’s to protect the people in your vehicle and all of those around you.” said Debbie Hersman of the NTSB.

Consultant Tom Osler is always on the road and he relies on the hands-free option built into his car to stay connected and productive.

“Hands-free technology is essential to my business and my safety,” he said.

“Before I had the voice activation and voice command prompts, I used to fumble around with the cell phone and dig through and look down and around,” he said.

Hands-free may appear to be safer, but the jury is still out. Several states that require drivers to use hands-free devices while driving have not seen a decline in traffic accidents.

The NTSB argues the best way to ensure safety is to turn off the phone all together.

More from Paula Ebben
  • Emily

    What’s the difference if you’re talking through a hands-free device or talking to the person in your passenger seat?

  • emom

    EMILY< thank you so much for pointing that out,,, there really is no difference oh but there have bee a few that would say different,,, I have been using hands free devices for over 11 years now, and have had complete control with my vehicles.. I also have a child and have had passengers in my vehicles as well . I have found that with no one in my vehicle and only talking on the hands free device I have my eyes on the road and I use my mirrors at all times, I can also look at the other cars and watch for problems that make come my way, But when there are passengers in the vehicle, there can come problems, Simply looking in the directions of them can take your eyes of the road, sudden shrills of a child can startle you , but what do some of know,, If it works for some of us them let it be, Not all can handle more than even one think in life even walking and talking is a major taskfor some. I sayt bring on hands free devices, they should be sold with every phone, It works but some are to nieve to try.

  • Cynic

    On more than one occasion I have ticked off my passenger when I said ” I do not like to talk while I am driving”.

  • emom

    My suggestion ,, dont have any passengers then,, drive a car for only one mirrors and watching for the other drivers while looking for street signs, business signs, traffic lights, and anything that could cause you to need to break suddenly,,, if you cant do all that some should never drive

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