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ADEPT Driver Calls for Approval of CA AB313 to Prevent Hands-Free Texting While Driving

ELK GROVE, Calif.April 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- ADEPT Driver, a California company that developed driver safety programs teenSMART and Lifelong Driver, is calling on members of the Assembly Transportation Committee to approve AB 313, authored by Assembly member Jim Frazier, which would ban hands-free voice-activated texting while driving. The bill will be considered by the Assembly Transportation Committee on Monday, April 8.

"Traffic safety experts know that texting while driving – whether hands-free or hand-held – poses a significant increase in crash risk," said Dr. Richard Harkness, a psychologist, traffic safety expert, and CEO of ADEPT Driver. "Recent research has highlighted the danger associated with hands-free texting while driving because it involves significant cognitive and visual distractions for drivers. We applaud Assembly member Frazier for introducing AB 313 to ban hands-free texting while driving. Distracted Driving Awareness Month is the perfect time for lawmakers on the Assembly Transportation Committee to approve this important bill."

In 2012, a law was passed in California that made texting while driving illegal, unless the driver was using a hands-free voice-activated device.  AB 313 would improve safety on California roads and highways and reduce distracted driving by banning all texting while driving.

"Statistically speaking, texting while driving is far more dangerous than driving drunk," said Dr. Harkness. "Allowing hands-free texting is a very predictable disaster waiting to happen."

ADEPT Driver produced a summary of research findings on hands-free texting while driving. Studies show that drivers who engage in hands-free texting while driving can have significant cognitive distraction that impairs their ability to recognize safety-critical events by as much as 50 percent and reduces driver response time by 30 percent. Research suggests that there is little or no difference in the crash risk of drivers using hands-held or voice operated devices because both contribute to the cognitive distraction that causes inattention blindness. While texting, the part of a driver's brain that deals with visual awareness shuts down by as much as 40 percent, while brain function that deals with language and critical thought is activated. So you can look but not immediately 'see' important objects like a car slamming on its brakes or a stop sign.

Using hands-free texting devices also does not eliminate the need for drivers to take their eyes off the road when checking voice-text transcriptions, posing further crash risk. These cumulative risk factors predispose drivers using hands-free texting devices to at least eight times higher crash risk than a driver who is not texting.

ADEPT Driver also supports Senate Bill 194 which would ban teen drivers from hands-free texting while driving.

Efforts to ban hands-free texting while driving are also supported by the National Safety Council, driver safety organizations, law enforcement organizations, and a number of leading auto insurance companies.

AB 313 will be heard in the California Assembly Transportation Committee next Monday, April 8th.

Contact: Hilary McLean
Phone: 916-441-2917