Two new studies for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety claim using hands-free technology while driving may not be that safe after all.
University of Utah researchers found it can take up to 27 seconds for drivers travelling 40 km/h to regain full attention after issuing a voice command through their car's infotainment system or smartphone.
The research was gathered in two separate studies: one looking at built-in car infotainment systems, while the other study focused on hands-free features on smartphones.
Data collected suggests it is highly distracting to use hands-free voice commands to make phone calls, call contacts, change music and send texts.
"Just because these systems are in the car doesn't mean it's a good idea to use them while driving," said University of Utah psychology professor David Strayer.
CAA Manitoba spokesperson Liz Kulyk said just because a device is hands-free, doesn't mean its risk free.
"If you're not focused on driving and driving alone, there's always going to be risk," said Kulyk.
Driving instructor Harold Tabin doesn't use any hands-free devices while driving.
He said the best way to prevent collisions is by giving your full attention to the road at all times.
Safety Services Manitoba CEO Judy Murphy said anything that takes your attention off the task at hand is a hazard on the road.
"We really aren't all that good at multi-tasking. Driving is a full time job and deserves 100 per cent of our attention," said Murphy.
Global Automakers of Canada president David Adams said the technology isn't perfect but in an era when people want to stay connected, he said auto manufacturers are always working to improve technology.