In an effort to address the dangers of smartphone use while driving, many people have adopted hands-free devices to allow them to talk or send messages to others while in the car. Some states have even enacted laws that allow the use of hands-free devices, while outlawing handheld cell phone use by drivers.
While people may assume that hands-free devices eliminate dangerous distractions because the driver is not actually holding the phone in their hands, numerous studies have shown that hands-free devices can still be a dangerous distraction for drivers.
We’ll discuss some of these distractions and some alternatives to hands-free devices that could help keep you safe while behind the wheel.
Distractions Caused by Hands-Free Devices
A Texas A&M Transportation Institute study examined people driving a closed course under three conditions – while texting by hand, while texting by voice, or not texting at all. The study found response times were significantly delayed no matter which texting method was used.
The simple truth is that a person who is attempting to use hands-free technology to talk or text on a cell phone is still distracted cognitively, which means their mind is still not entirely focused on the task of driving. While many people believe they are quite good at multitasking, attempting to perform two activities at the same time usually means that you do neither as well as you would have if you did them separately.
Hands-Free Driving Accident Statistics
When the Washington Post turned to the hosts of the television show “MythBusters” to examine whether hands-free devices were safer for driving, the MythBusters said the statistical difference was “negligible.” The Post said it is no safer to use a hands-free device while driving than it is to use a handset.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), distracted driving accounted for 3,477 deaths in one recent year – the most of any year dating back to 2010. Distracted driving also accounted for 2.443 million injuries, also the most of that six-year period.
What Is the Best Alternative, If Not Hands-Free?
In short, it is never a good idea to use your phone and drive at the same time. You should always be focused on one or the other, but never both simultaneously.
Your best alternative to distracted driving is to simply turn your cell phone off or silence it when you are driving. If you must keep it on, consider utilizing in-device auto response settings or third-party applications that will automatically send a message letting the person know that you are driving.
How Can The Champion Firm Help Me?
If you suffered severe injuries in an accident with a driver who was on their phone – even a hands-free device – you could be eligible for compensation for the harm you’ve suffered. An attorney can help you prove that the other driver was distracted and hold them accountable for their negligence.
The Champion Firm, P.C. represents clients on a contingency fee basis, so you will not be charged anything unless and until we win compensation for you. Our consultations are always free, so there is no risk to discuss your case with us. Call or contact us online now for a free consultation.