Jim Adler | The Tough, Smart Lawyer
By Jim Adler September 30, 2015

Fact: Distracted drivers are killing and severely injuring thousands of innocent Americans. In fact, more than 25% of all car wrecks are due to distracted driving. That’s why so many states and cities have passed laws banning using cellphones while driving to text, make calls or use the Internet.

But sometimes such laws make distinctions, allowing hands-free rather than handheld devices. However admirable in their intent, those laws are making the wrong call.

Why? Because studies have proven that using a hands-free device leaves you just as distracted as a driver who’s holding a cellphone.

Yet the same automakers and communications providers that readily acknowledge cellphone usage can kill are busily developing hands-free speech dictation, voice recognition and “infotainment” systems. They say these will be safer, but they won’t be.

Compounding the problem is that an estimated 34% of drivers admit texting while driving at least once a month. Whether handheld or hands-free texting, that’s a lot of dangerous drivers.

What Are Voice Recognition Systems?

Also known as speech recognition, voice recognition systems are devices that recognize what a driver is saying and then act accordingly, whether placing a phone call, writing and sending texts, changing radio stations or finding a location on a map.

The driver simply speaks clearly, and ideally the system understands the words and obeys. In effect, you talk to your car, and your car responds.

Such systems are popular, with about 10 million vehicles currently equipped with this technology. The AAA, formerly American Automobile Association, says 62 million vehicles will have voice recognition systems by 2018.

Research Shows Dangers

Yet research shows that even such hands-free speech recognition technology is a driving distraction and can lead to fatal crashes.

David Strayer, a University of Utah psychology professor, found in a study that talking to your car may be even more distracting than talking on a cellphone. His study was sponsored by the AAA.

“You’re going to fail to notice things,” Strayer told the Salt Lake Tribune. “You’re going to suffer from inattention blindness, and that’s even if it’s a purely voice-based system where your eyes are on the road and your hands are on the wheel.”

Toyota’s Entune was found to be the best of such systems, while research found that a Siri voice recognition system had the highest distraction levels. These involved inconsistencies in which Siri would give varied responses to commands which seemed identical, or when Siri required exact phrases to achieve specific tasks and would not perform when given subtle deviations.

Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system also was found to pose cognitive burdens. Less burdensome were MyFord Touch, Mercedes’ COMMAND system and Chrysler’s UConnect, though these, too, diverted attention more than a cellphone conversation.

Research also showed that, for most systems, single-task commands for such things as changing radio stations were about as distracting as listening to an audio book. Using speech-to-text technology to compose information was more difficult, and using menu-based functions even more so.

“You can be distracted and not know it,” J. Peter Kissinger, president of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, told Autoblog. “That’s the nature of mental distraction. Often, you don’t know you’re distracted until it’s too late.”

Texting Research Reveals Risks

Another study by the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University compared traditional type-texting to voice-texting by drivers. Either way, all 43 texting participants needed twice the time to react as when not texting, and their eye contact on the road dropped significantly.

The study’s research also found that voice-to-text required more time than type-texting since drivers had to revisit their message and fix mistakes made by the device. Yet in either case, drivers were engaging their minds on texting rather than driving, making them distracted, impaired — and dangerous.

Additionally, drivers using voice-to-text systems believed they were safer than those using type-texting — a false sense of security that made them even more dangerous.

The message? Newer technology isn’t necessarily safer technology.

Safety Responses to Distracted Driving

Safety advocates advise manufacturers to pay closer attention to the very real distractions posed by hands-free devices — and not just handheld devices — in order to make them more accurate and simple to use. They also advise motorists to be more aware of possible distractions while using voice-recognition systems and to minimize their use of such technology.

More and better laws also would help. Though Texas is one of only four states which do not ban the practice, more than two dozen Texas cities have passed municipal laws restricting cellphone use by drivers, and some Texas legislators continue the drive to bring Texas up to speed with national interests.

If a distracted driver injured someone in your family, alert the car wreck lawyers with Jim Adler & Associates. You’ll quickly get a free, no-obligation legal case review, and you may be entitled to substantial financial compensation for your losses.

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Testimonials

Erick Becker
Erick Becker
01:20 06 May 17
I am a Patrol Deputy for the Sheriff Office and while working one night, a drunk driver crossed the center stripe on the highway and struck my patrol vehicle head on with his pick up truck. Needless to say we (the drunk driver and I) were both lucky to survive, as the accident occurred at highway speeds. Following my release from the hospital, I knew that I would need to have someone represent me. My employer was happy to represent me in regards to prosecuting the driver for criminal charges but, can do little in respect to the recovery of financial losses for medical bills, pain and discomfort, time lost from work etc... This is how my relationship with Jim Adler and Associates began. Yep, you probably guessed correctly when you think of what made me choose the "Texas Hammer" to represent me. Those half obnoxious, half way entertaining commercials and radio announcements most Texans have been seeing and hearing on the TV and radio for years instantly came to mind. Yes, I wanted to "hammer" this S.O.B. for trying to kill me but, more importantly I was worried about the costs associated with the life long injuries I had sustained as a result of this drunk driver's negligent behavior. I contacted Jim Adler and Associates and so began our relationship. I was immediately surprised by the prompt attention and the expression of genuine concern for my well being that I received from the employees of Jim Adler's office. Now as you can imagine, lawyers are not a breed that is held in very high regard by people in my profession but, my experiences with Jim Adler's office and his employees have forced me to amend my way of thinking, at least on the civil side of the house anyway. I have to chuckle when I say that because my experience as a client of Jim Adler's firm has been exceptionally pleasant. So before I venture down one of the stereotypical and infinite number of rabbit holes associated with the relationship between members of law enforcement and lawyers; I will do my best to stay focused on my experience with Jim Adler & Associates. Upon being informed that my case had been accepted by Jim Adler's office; I was contacted by Iris Sanchez who informed me that she was to be my case manager and any questions, comments and concerns could be directed to her. I was pleasantly surprised to receive regular calls from Iris assisting with my medical appointments and future follow up appointments. Iris had informed me that Jim Adler's son, Bill Adler would be handling my case and I was even more surprised to receive several calls from Bill to discuss my case. Now you might be thinking "what's the big deal" with the person who is representing you contacting you? In reality, you are correct in that it isn't a big deal but, what is noteworthy and what separates Jim Adler's Office from the multitude of other lawyers is the genuine expressions of concern and the desire Bill Adler conveyed to me to do their best to help me. I felt an immediate connection and instantly realized I had made the correct choice in contacting Jim Adler & Associates to handle my case. One thing I think lawyers and police officers can agree on is the proverbial wheels of justice turn very slowly. Months go by and our professional relationship is never neglected. Through the unwavering attention of Iris Sanchez and Bill Adler himself, I never felt "out of the loop" so to speak and always had a clear understanding of where my case was at in regards to the legal process. In conclusion, I know my brief description of my experiences with Bill Adler and, his assistant Iris Sanchez, cannot provide the credit they deserve. Together they have done an outstanding job representing their firm/employer. If you are seeking a great firm to represent your legal interests and, take comfort in establishing a professional relationship that feels more like a friendship than a casual business acquaintance, then I highly suggest Jim Adler & Associates.
Tierra Clark
Tierra Clark
18:52 19 May 17
My lawyer Bill Adler and case manager Iris Sanchez are amazing! They constantly call and check on you . They keep you up to date through the process. They care about you as a person and not just a client. The wreck was a life changing experience that I've never been through before. I'm just glad I had the right people like Bill Adler and Iris Sanchez to help me through it. Truly satisfied.Thanks and God bless y'all!
Lorenzo Preston
Lorenzo Preston
17:23 26 Jan 17
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Tori Barroga
Tori Barroga
14:17 11 May 17
I was dropped from a previous law firm regarding my case before I called Jim Adler. They immediately took up my case and worked hard on it - I was always up to date with each step they took and the benefits or consequences of each. In the end, I am highly satisfied with the outcome and would not have it any other way. It took some time but I truly appreciate and want to thank everybody who helped me on this journey and worked tirelessly on it.
Bernard Orozco
Bernard Orozco
17:16 23 Feb 17
I am very happy with Jim Adler & Associates. I did not know anyone who has ever used the Law Firm before. The staff is very friendly and treated me as if I were family. At times it got very stressful being without a job. They helped me when I was confused about the process. Mrs. Theresa Rodriguez stayed in contact with me constantly. Checking on me to see how I was doing and to let me know how things were going on there end. The Attorneys that handled my case know exactly what they are doing to take good care of me. Thank You so much Attorney's Mr.Michael Gomez and Mr.Trey Smith.
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