AP Television - AP Clients Only

Landover, Maryland - June 11, 2013

1. SOUNDBITE (English) David Strayer / AAA Study Author

What we're finding is that mental distractions from talking on the phone or interacting with voice based systems in the car has a significant cognitive component to it that makes it so you are less safe if you are engaged in those activities.

** Video over Soundbite**

2. Move toward outside of research vehicle

3. SOUNDBITE (English) David Strayer / AAA Study Author

More and more vehicles across the entire price point are across the entire price point are starting to include voice based technologies...some of which are going to be things to deal with adjusting things in the car...turning the windshield wipers on...turning the heat up and down....those probably are going to be less distracting than some of the more entertainment or delivery type systems...if you are trying to post to Facebook....if you are trying to go through your email...if you are trying to post to Facebook...if you are trying to go through your email....if you are trying to send a text message...even if your hands are on the wheel...and your eyes are on the road...if you are trying to use some sort of voice based may find yourself more distracted than you expect.

** Video over Soundbite**

4. Shot of headgear being placed on test driver's head

5. Shot of drivers head as seen through rear view mirror

6. Tight on sensor of test driver's forehead

7. Wide of driver's view as he starts driving on test course

8. Driver as seen on computer monitor in back seat of vehicle.

9. SOUNDBITE (English) David Strayer / AAA Study Author

Talking on a cell phone is distracting....talking on a hands free cell phone isn't any safer.

**Video over Soundbite**

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10. Driver talking on cell phone

AP Television - AP Clients Only

Landover, Maryland - June 11, 2013

11. SOUNDBITE (English) David Strayer / AAA Study Author

Your eyes are on the road....your hands are on the steering wheel...but your mind is somewhere may find yourself running through a traffic light because you didn't notice were looking out the windshield but your mind was some was somewhere was on that phone conversation...or you're trying to post something to a voice text....that takes attention away from he drive and you start to miss events..."

**Video over Soundbite**

12. Med of test vehicle on driving course

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13. Med of vehicles in traffice

14. Driver talking on cell phone

15. Med of vehicles in traffic.


Using voice commands to send text messages and emails from behind the wheel, which is marketed as a safer alternative for drivers, actually is more distracting and dangerous than simply talking on a cellphone, a new AAA study found.

Automakers have been trying to excite new-car buyers, especially younger ones, with dashboard infotainment systems that let drivers use voice commands do things like turning on windshield wipers, posting Facebook messages or ordering pizza. The pitch has been that hands-free devices are safer because they enable drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.

But talking on a hands-free phone isn't significantly safer for drivers than talking on a hand-held phone, and using hands-free devices that translate speech into text is the most distracting of all, researchers found. Speech-to-text systems that enable drivers to send, scroll through, or delete email and text messages required greater concentration by drivers than other potentially distracting activities examined in the study like talking on the phone, talking to a passenger, listening to a book on tape or listening to the radio.

There are about 9 million cars and trucks on the road with infotainment systems, and that will jump to about 62 million vehicles by 2018, AAA spokeswoman Yolanda Cade said, citing automotive industry research. At the same time, drivers tell the AAA they believe phones and other devices are safe to use behind the wheel if they are hands-free, she said.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers was skeptical. "We are extremely concerned that it could send a misleading message, since it suggests that hand-held and hands-free devices are equally risky," the association said in a statement.

The automakers' trade group said the AAA study focuses only on the mental distraction posed by using a device and ignores the visual and manual aspects of hand-held versus hands-free systems that are integrated into cars.

Other studies have also compared hand-held and hands-free phone use, finding they are equally risky or nearly so. But a recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study of drivers' real world driving experiences found hand-held phone use was less safe than hands-free.