Distracted driving – particularly in regards to cell phone use – is one of the
greatest causes of
car accidents in America. Due to the physical, cognitive, and visual distraction that
using a cell phone can create, many states have implemented laws which
only allow the use of hands-free devices while driving, such as Bluetooth
earpieces, dashboard systems, or speakerphones. But are hands-free cellphones
really a safer alternative, or is the danger just as prevalent?
Hands-Free Is Not Risk-Free
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), hands-free devices do very
little, if anything at all, to minimize the distracting nature of using
a cell phone while driving. Roughly 26% of all car accidents involve cell
phone use – including those involving hands-free devices. The reason
for this is due to the brain’s inability to do two things at the
While these devices keep a person’s hands free, their mind is still
focused on a task other than the road, causing them to miss noticing oncoming
hazards and sudden changes which cause accidents. In fact, NSC studies
have revealed that a person’s activity in the area of the brain
which processes moving images decreases by up to one-third when they are
listening or speaking on a phone, while their ability to process images
within their field of view decreases by up to 50%.
When In Doubt, Consult the Mythbusters
The question of whether driving with hands-free devices is any safer than
using a handheld phone was the topic of
an episode of the popular Discovery Channel show Mythbusters, in which hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman tested the theory by participating
in an elaborate 360-degree virtual driving simulator at Stanford University.
After populating the virtual world with various hazards, only 2 of the
30 participating drivers were able to pass a driving test while using
a cell phone.
Of the 15 drivers who used handsets, only one passed, with five failing
by driving the wrong way and nine failing by crashing. Of those who used
hands-free devices, only one passed, with six driving the wrong way and
eight crashing. The statistical difference between the two was revealed
to be negligible, with the show concluding that hands-free devices are
no safer than handsets.
By far your best option is to drive without using a cell phone at all.
To stay safe and minimize your chances of a collision, it is recommended
you do the following:
- If a call is critical, pull over to have the conversation.
- Plan a road map before you travel
- Wait until you reach your destination to answer text messages
For more safety tips, or if you or a loved one have been hit by a distracted
driver, contact Michael J. Doyle, Attorney at Law today. With more than
a decade’s worth of personal injury experience, our team of Albuquerque
car accident lawyers can provide the powerful advocacy you need to pursue
full compensation for your losses.
Call (505) 219-2176 or contact our office online
today to discuss your legal options.