Hands-free technology still a driving distraction - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Hands-free technology still a driving distraction

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WSIL -- There's no doubt that texting or talking on the phone while driving is dangerous. But, during this Distracted Driving Week, Sergeant Joey Watson with Illinois State Police District 13 wants those behind the wheel to know distracted driving involves more than just your cell phone.

Distracted driving is anything that keeps drivers from properly focusing on the road. Watson says this includes Bluetooth and car play technology, so drivers can make calls and texts hands-free. 

"What's happening is that people are getting involved in these conversations," he explains. "Hands-free or holding the device, it's still a drain on their brain." 

Other gadgets meant to keep drivers' eyes on the roadway and aware of their surroundings can also be an interference. "You've got radio stations and GPS devices and all of these things built into the vehicle that are, again, all distractions," Watson says. 

The sergeant says while distracted driving is an issue with all ages, adults 40 and older-- not teens-- seem to get caught up using in-vehicle technology. 

"The kids have kind of gotten the message over the years and so they understand that it's an issue. The adults, they are still utilizing the technology," Watson says. 

This causes drivers to swerve into other lanes, abruptly slow down or speed up. Or worse, crash. However, parents who worry about their teens driving distracted can at least do one thing to help keep themselves and their children safe.

"When we get inside the vehicle be a role model to that younger generation so that they see you dong the right thing," Watson adds. 

Some suggestions for parents and guardians include focusing on the roadway, buckling up and obeying the speed limit. 

For more information on Distracted Driving Week, click here

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