Despite local laws and innovative efforts by both hardware and software makers, distracted driving continues to be a serious concern on our public roadways. Many still believe that hands-free, voice-controlled solutions are the answer but new data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety once again suggests otherwise.

In a study released today, the foundation notes that drivers can remain mentally distracted for up to 27 seconds after dialing a number, sending a text message or changing music using voice commands - all while their hands are on the wheel and their eyes are on the road. That works out to the length of three football fields when traveling at speeds of just 25 MPH.

To reach that conclusion, the foundation tested 257 adults ranging in age from 21 to 70 using 10 different 2015 model year vehicles as well as three different smartphone systems with an additional 65 drivers. Regardless of which hands-free system was used, analysis showed that all of them increased mental distraction to potentially unsafe levels.

Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, said the lasting effects of mental distraction mean motorists could miss stop signs, pedestrians and other vehicles as their mind is readjusting to the task of driving.

Self-driving cars will all but eliminate these concerns but the reality is, they're still many years away from hitting the roads.