Are Hands-Free Devices Safe?
Think talking on a hands-free device is safe while driving? Motorists seem to think so but research says no.
In April, the National Safety Council (NSC) released findings of a survey gauging attitudes about hands-free cellular devices. The survey found eight in 10 motorists believe use of hands-free devices is a safe option.
While many states, including North Carolina, have laws against texting while driving, fewer ban use of cell phones outright. A distracted driving measure, named for a 17-year-old Charlotte man, was recently tabled in the legislature. The Brian Garlock Bill aimed at prohibiting motorists from using handheld phones while driving.
Laws that ban handheld devices often allow use of hands-free devices. This troubling trend has no basis in safety.
According to a study conducted by the Automobile Association of America (AAA), hands-free communication in cars could actually be more risky than handheld devices. Consider these points:
- The likelihood of injury from accident while talking on a hands-free device while driving is the same, if not more, than speaking on a handheld cell phone.
- Any type of conversation while driving preoccupies portions of the brain needed to process spatial information, including memory and awareness of objects on a street.
- Because of this inattention blindness, motorists who talk while driving may look at objects in the driving environment, without really seeing them.
Operating a car looks easy, but it requires cognitive, emotional, physical and visual attention. Talking to others using any device while driving a car gives them the piece of your mind you need to stay safe. Do not do it.
If injured by a distracted driver anywhere in North Carolina, seek experienced legal counsel.