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Hands-free Conversations with Siri are as Dangerous as Driving Drunk

Posted by Tom Hudson | Nov 17, 2014 | 0 Comments

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National Safety Council

The National Safety Council is a nationwide nonprofit which focusses on making things safer on the roads and in the workplace.  A recent study by the NSC found that the three biggest causes of fatalities on the road are:

  • Alcohol (30%)
  • Speeding (30%)
  • Distracted Driving (26%)

A few years ago, auto manufacturers and cell phone manufacturers tried to work a technological fix for the dangers of distracted driving.  They created hands-free interaction, like Siri.  However, those technologies may be giving us a false sense of security.

A recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that the distraction caused by hands-free devices was roughly equal to the distraction caused by manual texting.  The study found that drivers who were texting hands-free had their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel, but that they were subject to a phenomenon called "inattention blindness," in which they are looking at the road, but failing to process half of the information before them.

According to the National Safety Council,

  • Distracted drivers tend to miss visual cues such as exits, red lights and stop signs.
  • Driver reaction and response time become delayed as they are required to “attention switch,” causing a delay in a driver's braking reaction time.
  • Driver reaction time with use of a hands-free device is slower than the reaction time of driver impaired at a .08 alcohol intoxication concentration, according to the NSC.

Did you get that last one?  Driver reaction time with the use of a hands-free device, whether integrated into the car, or one such as Siri on an iPhone, is slower than someone who is over the legal limit for alcohol. That is really a remarkable finding.

So the next time you are tempted to make yourself safer by using the hands-free mode on your cell phone, maybe it would just be a better idea to wait.  As I have always said, the best place for a cell-phone, is in the trunk, where you won't be tempted.

About the Author

Tom Hudson

Known nationwide as a leading DUI defense lawyer, Tom has tried over 350 jury trials, including numerous death penalty cases. He now limits his criminal practice to DUI defense. His civil practice is devoted to getting fair compensation for the victims of negligence. Tom has attained multiple verdicts and settlements in excess of $1 million, and is a Life Member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. In 2008, Tom Hudson passed the National Board Certification Test for DUI Attorneys in Honolulu, Hawaii. NOTE: The State of Florida does not yet recognize DUI defense as a Specialty.

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Board Certification in DUI Defense

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Tom Hudson passed the National Board Certification Examination (written and oral) in Honolulu in 2008, and was recertified in 2013. He was one of the first 50 lawyers granted national board certification in DUI Defense, and is nationally recognized as an authority in DUI law.

Why We're Different

Board Certification as a DUI Specialist by the National College for DUI Defense. Formal NHTSA Certification as an Instructor of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests given by police in DUI cases. Formal training as a NHTSA Drug Recognition Evaluator. ("Drug Evaluation & Classification") Formal training to operate the Intoxilyzer 8000, Florida's official breath test instrument. Extensive experience in teaching other attorneys how to handle DUI cases. Hundreds of jury trials both as defense lawyer and as prosecutor. Florida's State Delegate to the National College for DUI Defense.