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Michael J. Doyle, Attorney At Law Michael J. Doyle, Attorney At Law
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Are Hands-Free Mobile Devices Safer?


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 same time.

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.