Most people assume that hands-free mobile devices that allow for texting and talking on a smartphone while driving help to prevent car accidents. After all, not picking up a smartphone to send a text message while behind the wheel must be helpful, right? According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the assumption is dangerously erroneous. Hands-free devices may contribute to car accidents just as frequently as using a cellphone, based on their studies.
What the NSC Knows About Hands-Free Devices
The National Safety Council makes no distinction between texting on a smartphone and using a hands-free device. The truth is that hands-free devices are distracting, and any sort of driver distraction can significantly spike the chances of causing a crash.
Quick NSC statistics about hands-free devices and distracted driving:
- About 10 Americans a day will die in a distracted driving accident
- Another 1,000 people a day will suffer serious injuries due to a distracted driver
- Talking on a hands-free device reduces a driver’s active field of vision by 50%
The problem lies in the fact that the human mind essentially cannot multitask. We are designed to be able to intently focus on one thing at a time, allowing us to excel at that one task. Introducing a second, simultaneous task disrupts that focus and just creates internal distractions, though. That is to say, a driver who is looking at the road and driving but also talking using a hands-free device is not actually focused on the road at all. Instead, they are focused on the task of talking while their eyes basically “zone out” and go into a passive mode.
What Can You Use Instead of a Hands-Free Device?
At this time, there is no acceptable or safe way to use a cellphone while driving. Even people with smart cars that can self-drive need to stay focused on the road ahead and around them in case they need to take control of the vehicle in an emergency. Texting at a red light is also unsafe because you can miss important traffic changes going on around you, like people changing lanes to allow an emergency response vehicle to pass.
If you have to answer the phone or send a text message while you are driving, you have one safe option: pull over. Look for a safe place on the side of the road to stop your vehicle before you pick up or look at your cellphone. Preferably, you will be able to stop in an area well away from the road, like a parking lot or designated rest area.
Rafi Law Group handles distracted driving accident claims for drivers throughout Phoenix. Call (623) 207-1555 if you need our law firm’s help for a claim or lawsuit of your own.