PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – These days we all want to be connected through texts, phone, Facebook, you name it and automakers are responding with new technology to help make it possible to be connected even as you drive.

Much of it can be done hands-free, but is it really safe?

Accounting consultant Tom Osler relies heavily on his car’s hands-free options. He says, “Hands free technology is essential to my business and my safety. It helps me communicate with my clients.”

According to Karl Brauer of automotive website, it’s not just about hands-free radio controls anymore.

Brauer says, “We’ve gone from having simple things like, maybe answering a phone call or trying to get the temperature set to having the ability to put in a full address by voice for a destination in your “nav” system, or call up a different song or artist on your music-playing thing.”

Nearly every auto company now offers some kind of hands-free options, with new technology released often and even more on the horizon.

Brauer says, “We’re looking eventually at potentially having a voice to text emailing that would read your emails to you and take dictation of your voice when you tell, do a response to that email.”

In fact, GM recently launched a pilot test that uses an Onstar app to let drivers send and receive texts and Facebook updates while driving.

But not everyone’s a fan of this kind of freedom, including the National Transportation Safety Board.

Debbie Hersman of the NTSB says, “When you’re on the road, your primary responsibility is to make sure you get to your destination safely. It’s not to conduct business, not to socialize. It’s to protect the people in your vehicle and all of those around you.”

The NTSB says when looking at accident rates in the states that require hands-free technology for phone use in cars, four of those states showed no decline in the number of accidents that took place when comparing rates before the change in policy and after.

Watch the video…

Reported by Jim Donovan, CBS 3

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