Hands-free, but not distraction-free

A new study from AAA says using hands-free devices that enable us to do things such as text, talk and answer e-mails while driving may not be as safe as we think they are.

The study shows that drivers who use hands-free devices to talk or send messages are at least two times more distracted than those who don't, and drivers who use speech-to-text in-car systems are up to three times more distracted.

Fernando Flores, a technology expert at Myrtle Beach Chevrolet, said this type of technology is what attracts customers to cars.

"You've got to have that for cars nowadays. If you don't have the newest technology, with all the phones people have, people aren't interested," Flores said.

To lower these statistics, AAA wants automakers and the electronics industry to limit the use of voice-activated technology while driving to basic functions like temperature control.

Flores said a lot of the cars on his lot are already equipped with info-tainment systems that put safety before fun, and that the key to staying safe on the roads is to make smart decisions while driving.

"You want to keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. It's plain and simple," Flores said.

According to AAA, roughly 9 million vehicles are traveling on the roadways with info-tainment systems.