With the rise of accidents related to cell phone use, several states have and continue to implement hand-free cellphone laws while driving. While these measures help reduce the number of accidents, they’re far from full-proof measures. Hands free doesn’t mean risk free, and here’s why.
According to a recent study sponsored by AAA, hand-free devices are not the solution to the cell phone problem. Instead, they cause an entirely new distraction. The study found that hands-free devices only reduced a driver’s distraction slightly compared to answering a call with their hands.
While there is a slight betterment in keeping your eyes on the road, your brain’s level of distraction is roughly the same. That means that, like texting or answering a call normally, you’re still a distracted driver and therefore a danger on the road. With distracted driving causing roughly 3,500 fatalities and 400,000 injuries each year, that’s still a large problem reports Langer & Langer.
The Incorrect Correlation
Public awareness about this issue remains muddles. Most people correlate hands-free devices with a safer way to drive. As it turns out, text-to-speech is three times more distracting than listening to the radio, and hands-free tools are equally distracted as an in-depth conversation with a passenger.
Experts have identified three levels of distracted driving. The first two are visual and manual distractions, which happen when you take your eyes off the road or your hands off the wheel. The third is cognitive, which is when your mind is taken off the task at hand.
Hands-free devices can reduce visual and manual distractions when used properly, but they still require your cognitive attention to be used. This leads to countless accidents as drivers remove their focus from operating their vehicle to using these devices.
So, What Is Safe?
The best way to ensure your safety and everyone else’s is to eliminate all three levels of distraction. That means leaving your phone alone while you’re on the road. Any calls, texts, messages, or comments will still be there when you arrive at your destination.
It’s easier said than done for most people, but keep in mind that each second you spend distracted is the potential for an accident, fatal or otherwise. Which is more important, your life and the lives of others or answering someone you could have called back in a few minutes?
Distracted Driving Accidents
If you do find yourself in an accident caused by distracted driving, then the first thing you need to think about is hiring legal representation. A skilled car accident lawyer can help you prove that a call did not cause an accident, lessen the extent of your legal repercussions, and fight for compensation when the other driver is held liable.
While you can’t control what each and every driver does on the road, you can control your own actions. Never text while driving and let any phone calls go to voicemail. It’s in your best interest and for the safety of everyone on the road.