Bluetooth Technology Battling Distractions

By Kelly McCarthy

December 5, 2012 Updated Dec 6, 2012 at 11:18 AM EDT

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Is the new technology in cars that can complete hands-free phone calls and text messages actually helping drivers stay focused?

Action News finds out if these new features are being used on the road.

During an average month Broome County Sheriff's deputies hand out about 50 citations for cell phone distraction.

Of those violations they about 40 come from drivers making phone calls.

"It seems to be it's one generation that's typical violators of that offense, it seems to be folks between the ages of 16-25 in violation of this particular violation in traffic law," said Capt. Fred Akshar of Broome County Sheriffs Office.

Now there's technology to prevent those violations, but only if you use it.

"You know surprisingly you don't see a lot of the younger kids coming in asking about the Bluetooth, they want to upgrade their stereos and that kind of stuff," said Brian Hergan, manager of creative sight and sounds at Matthews Auto Group.

"You know if you're a kid you really don't care about, you think you're invincible, and you don't really use it to its full potential," said Sales Associate Mark Lindenmuth at Matthews Auto Group.

Car manufacturers are offering drivers’ ways to communicate while driving, and keeping both hands on the wheel.

"A lot of the new Bluetooth stuff has texting capabilities where you can text hands-free, you can read your emails hands-free, mostly for the safety of when you're calling in the car," said Hergan.

Bluetooth technology can be found in any make or model, but it's not always taking your eyes off the road that causes the distraction.

"You know you could be having an emotional conversation, a funny conversation, in which your mind is now focused on that conversation and not what's in front of you, not your surroundings," said Capt. Akshar.

Even with technology that keeps both hands on the wheel.

"From a law enforcement perspective we appreciate that, but at the end of the day people have to just realize how incredibly dangerous it is to be distracted while you're driving," said Capt. Akshar.

From getting a ticket to putting yourself and others at risk.

In New York State, it is a primary offense to use your phone while driving.

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