According to a recent study conducted by industry research firm Strategy Analytics, Bluetooth hands-free calling systems allow drivers smarter and safer mobile connectivity in the car by reducing visual distractions.
The Strategy Analytics report titled Driver Distraction: Relevant Research and Implications for Public Policy analyzes the results from major studies related to distracted driving and mobile phones. Key findings from the report include:
* Bluetooth enabled headsets and car kits can be beneficial in reducing crash risk by providing drivers with a voice-activated method for dialing phone numbers or performing other tasks.
* Research overwhelmingly shows the dangers of visual distraction associated with eyes-off-road time; Research also suggests that Bluetooth solutions reduce this distraction.
* Bans on texting while driving are appropriate for manual interaction, but allowances should be made for voice-interaction technology, which reduces distraction if accurate and well designed.
Bluetooth wireless technology has become the de facto wireless standard to connect wireless phones and portable electronics in the car. The Strategy Analytics North American Bluetooth Automotive Market 2010 Forecast predicts:
* Total automotive Bluetooth connectivity units will increase from 8,450,000 units in 2010 to 25,799,000 units in 2017.
* Wireless technology in automobiles will be almost standard by 2015. Bluetooth technology will have an attach rate of over 85 percent by 2015 and 90 percent by 2016.
Smart driving with Bluetooth technology is going to become increasingly important as more states enact hands-free laws, including bans on texting while driving. Distracted driving statistics and legislation information include:
* At any given moment, more than 1 million U.S. drivers are talking on handheld cell phones, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
* A 2010 Nationwide Insurance survey noted that 65 percent of drivers talk on a cell phone while driving. Fifteen percent of these drivers admitted they were on their phone either all the time or often.
* The same Nationwide survey found that 66 percent of drivers using hands-free devices “feel safer” in their car while doing so.
* As of Nov. 2010, hands-free laws exist in eight states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Washington), the Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia while dozens of municipalities and local jurisdictions have enacted similar bans.
* Thirty states and the District of Columbia ban texting while driving for all drivers. Eleven of these laws were enacted in 2010. An additional eight states prohibit text messaging by young drivers.
Mike Foley, Executive Director of the Bluetooth SIG
“In this always-connected world it is critically important to utilize common sense when using a mobile device in the car. I have two girls that will be behind the wheel soon, and you can be assured they will know to keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel at all times. Bluetooth technology allows drivers to do just that and stay connected without resorting to unsafe practices like texting while driving. Bluetooth wireless technology is the smart solution for communicating while driving – drive smart.”
“Bluetooth technology ensures drivers are provided with a smarter option for communicating in the car without having to take their eyes off the road. Bluetooth short-range wireless connectivity is the perfect solution for syncing cell phones, music players and GPS devices, helping drivers comply with hands-free legislation and texting laws.”
Chris Schreiner, Automotive Consumer Insights Services, Strategy Analytics
“Much research has been conducted examining the effects of mobile phone use on driving. This research overwhelmingly shows the dangers of visual distraction associated with eyes-off-road time. The use of Bluetooth headsets or car kits appear to be safer than talking on a hand-held phone, and safer than normal driving.”