It is not uncommon for drivers to think that hands-free calling makes driving and talking safer – after all, if their hands remain on the wheel, they are not distracted. A study released in 2014, however, proved that hands-free systems are extremely distracting. The study was released by AAA and the University of Utah, which found that all hands-free and voice-activated devices are potentially unsafe to drivers. The group also stated that the inaccuracies of the devices and complicated systems can make them more distracting than manufacturers let on.
According to the study, drivers still overlook things like pedestrians, stop signs and even other cars on the road while using voice-activated technology as well as hands-free devices. That is because even with their hands on the wheel they are not focused on the road ahead.
Hand-Held Devices are a Problem
While hands-free devices have contributed to a slight decline in the number of accidents and traffic-related deaths, that does not mean they are safe. Most hands-free devices still require some sort of interaction and often a driver will take their eyes away from the road to read the screen of the device, which is more dangerous than taking their hands off the wheel.
State bans only address the use of hand-held devices; and unfortunately that means drivers can still use their hands-free devices to talk or even text without breaking the law.
The Conversation is the Distracting Part
Drivers talking while behind the wheel are the distraction, according to the NTSB. Talking on a device (hands-free or not) increases the likelihood of an accident by four times versus not talking on a device at all. Hands-free devices are not safer and as long as a driver is engaged in a conversation that requires their cognitive abilities. They are unable to fully focus on the road; thus, causing them to be distracted.
Most drivers using hands-free devices assume that they are making safer choices and contributing to fewer distractions by using these devices. In reality, the brain cannot multi-task as well as drivers assume. It does not help that more vehicles are being equipped with infotainment systems into the dashboard. These devices allow drivers to make hands-free calls, navigate to a destination and even check the weather without actually touching it. Unfortunately, it still requires the driver to interact with the device or person they are talking to and look at the screen.
Injured by a Distracted Driver?
Even though the use of hands-free devices is not against the law, distracted driving means that the driver responsible is liable for their actions. If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the NYC car accident attorneys at Schwartzapfel® Lawyers, P.C. online today or call 1-877-737-4806 to schedule your free accident consultation.