Hands-Free Devices and the Illusion of Safety
With the proliferation of hands-free cell phone technology in cars, lawmaker and car manufacturers have made proclamations of how safe the roads are becoming as people start to use this kind of wireless technology rather than using handheld devices to make phone calls. Unfortunately, this perceived increase in driver safety is not all it seems to be.
It is the conversation of a phone call while driving that presents the main distraction that makes a driver slower to react and less aware of their surroundings. This means that the physical act of holding a phone is not the primary contributor to driver distraction, and the measure of safety provided by using a hands-free device remains almost the same.
Repeated studies on the subject have revealed that using a hands-free device provides little difference in driver safety over a traditional handheld device. The results have shown that:
- Drivers using a phone, hands-free or otherwise, are 18% slower to react to a car braking in front of them than an intoxicated driver.
- When a driver is engaged in listening activities, they become 50% more likely to drift into the shoulder than drivers focused exclusively on the road.
- During a cell phone conversation and for ten minutes afterward, drivers are four times more likely to get into a wreck.
- Activity in the parietal lobe of the brain, which during normal driving is high, decreases by over 40% when the language centers of the brain become engaged.
Clearly, driver safety is affected little by the use of hands-free devices as the true cause of the distraction is unchanged.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident caused by the negligence of a driver on the phone, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills and damages. Contact the experienced and skilled Stevens Point car accident attorneys of Habush Habush & Rottier, S.C. at 800-242-2874 for a free consultation.