AAA study: Hands-free not risk free

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- A new University of Utah study confirms something we probably suspected to be true all along.

"The population generally believes that hands free is safer," said Dave Carlson with AAA of Idaho. "That's not true."

In fact, the study, commissioned by the American Automobile Association, concludes hands-free phone use while driving is just plain dangerous.

An unintended consequence of hands free devices like a Bluetooth, or a voice activated cell phone is it tends to overload the driver's brain.
Researchers tracked the eye motions and brain functions of drivers using hands-free devices and they reported that hands-free does not mean risk-free.

Drivers scanned the road less, and missed seeing pedestrians and stoplights right in front of them.

And new cars are coming out with even more hands-free technology.

"So we expect that more people will be doing more in their cars," said Carlson. "And the more difficult it is, the higher the risk factor."

The AAA plans to use the study to have both car owners and manufacturers rethink just how much technology they really need behind the wheel.