Think you’re focused on driving simply because your eyes are on the road and your hands are on the wheel? The AAA Foundation’s ongoing study of cognitive distraction in the automobile is challenging this assumption, by offering the most comprehensive evidence to-date that “hands-free” doesn’t mean “risk free.”

In these 2 new studies, the AAA Foundation and the University of Utah utilized the mental workload rating scale developed in June 2013 to assess the level of cognitive demand associated with a wide range of tasks and technologies (including, for the first time, proprietary systems). The findings add a wealth of knowledge and nuance to what we established last year, and offer concrete insights into how infotainment and communications technologies might be more safely implemented in vehicles.