Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of auto accidents. In fact, the risks of distracted driving are so significant that many states, including Illinois, have implemented bans on the use of hand-held cell phones while driving. As a result, many auto makers are installing hands-free technology in their vehicles. But according to a new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, hands free technology poses a number of hidden risks to dangers and passengers alike. In a press release issued in October 2015, AAA reported that “potentially unsafe mental distractions can persist for as long as 27 seconds after dialing, changing music or sending a text using voice commands,” raising new concerns regarding the use of phones and vehicle information systems while driving. At the 25 mph speed limit used in the study, drivers traveled the length of nearly three football fields during those 27 seconds, and even when using the least distracting systems, drivers still remained impaired for more than 15 seconds after completing a task. “The lasting effects of mental distraction pose a hidden and pervasive danger that would likely come as a surprise to most drivers,” said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, in a press release. “The results indicate that motorists could miss stop signs, pedestrians and other vehicles while the mind is readjusting to the task of driving.” The AAA Foundation’s most recent findings are its third phase of its comprehensive investigation into cognitive distraction, and show that “new hands-free technologies can mentally distract drivers even if their eyes are on the road and their hands are on the wheel.” The study looked at the residual effects of mental distraction by comparing new hands-free technologies installed in ten 2015 vehicles and three different types of smartphones. The study found that all systems increased mental distraction to potentially unsafe levels. “The massive increase in voice-activated technologies in cars and phones represents a growing safety problem for drivers,” said Marshall Doney, AAA’s President and CEO. “We are concerned that these new systems may invite driver distraction, even as overwhelming scientific evidence concludes that hands-free is not risk free.” The bottom line: the only way to prevent distracted driving is to remove distractions, hands-free or otherwise. Contact a Car Accident Lawyer At Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish, our Chicago auto accident lawyers are dedicated to helping the victims of auto accidents caused by distracted driving to obtain full and fair financial recovery. If you were injured or a loved one died as a result of distracted driving, do not hesitate to contact our (312) 445-9084 to schedule a free consultation with one of our Chicago car accident lawyers. Steinberg Goodman & Kalish (www.sgklawyers.com) is dedicated to protecting victims and their families. We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (888) 325-7299 or (312) 445-9084.