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Hands-free does not mean distraction free

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Updated: 6/12/2013 6:52 pm
(NBC News) Hands-free does not mean distraction free, at least when it comes to using your
cellphone while driving.

A new study indicates new voice command technology for your car, pitched as a safer alternative, really isn't.

"What our research is showing is that, even interacting with a handsfree system still increases mental workload. It still causes driver distraction," explains Joel Cooper.

Cooper is a University of Utah researcher. The school conducted the study for AAA and put NBC's Tom Costello through some of the same distracted driving tests it conducted on 32 university students.

Costello's reaction was almost ten percent slower when interacting with the voice dictation
software.

The researchers say using speech to text technology requires more precision than normal conversation, and therefore, more concentration that's not focused on driving.

-- Mark Barger reports

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