Hands-free devices are as dangerous as texting while driving

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah -- Back in the '80s, David Hasselhoff was the only man driving a talking car and we were all jealous.  But now that we have Siri, Cortana and other voice control systems in our dashboards, we're still not all that lucky.

New research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the University of Utah suggests that hands-free technology in vehicles may cause mental distraction.  Especially when your digital partner doesn't really understand what you want from her, or the system is so complicated that you end up paying more attention to the app than the road ahead.

The study shows that drivers can miss stop signs, pedestrians and other cars while trying to compose text messages or emails using their voices, or give their talking assistants the right instructions.

So, the future is awesome, but we're not quite there yet.  While manufacturers continue to refine their systems, researchers advise drivers to limit the use of most voice-based technologies and minimize their cognitive distraction.  In other words: unless KITT is in charge, stop talking to your dashboard and just drive.