ORANGE PARK, Fla.-- Drivers like Ron Baluch tell me their hands-free technology makes them feel safer while multi-tasking on the roads.
"I think it's great," he said, pointing to his Ford's Sync system command button.
Action News has learned hands-free doesn't mean risk-free. According to a recent study by AAA, listening and responding to in-vehicle voice activated features is even more distracting than talking on the cell phone.
"It's not the physical act of holding a cell phone or not holding a cell phone that's dangerous it's taking your mind off of driving that is so dangerous and the technology is exploding," said Bill Bishop, spokesperson for AAA of NE Florida.
Researchers hooked up devices to drivers to study their brain activity while using voice command systems. They found drivers' brains went into what they call "overload."
"Your brain can't process it all. It's acting so fast, it's missing things," said Bishop.
Baluch admits his own beloved SYNC system has been a distraction.
"When I am talking hands free, I'll sometimes find myself past the location I was going to, so my mind obviously was not on driving, it was more on the conversation so I guess that's true," said Baluch.
AAA has recommended that auto companies limit vehicle technology to prevent tragedy, but they're concerned because technology is expected to expand immensely in the next five years.
The next step for AAA is taking the research results to Capitol Hill later this week.