A public opinion poll released in 2014 by the National Safety Council showed that 80 percent of drivers think that hands-free devices are actually safer to use than handheld devices. This assumption, however, is incorrect. Of those that participated in the poll, 70 percent said that they use hands-free devices for safety reasons – even though the NSC noticed there are more than 30 studies that already show hands-free devices are no safer than using a handheld device while operating a vehicle. This is because the distraction is the interaction between the device and the brain – it has nothing to do with whether or not a driver’s hands are actually on the wheel.
Hands-Free, Not Risk-Free
The National Safety Council has been working hard to boost awareness about hands-free devices, but they are combating auto and tech manufacturers that specifically advertise these devices as safer alternatives. During their “hands-free is not risk-free” campaign, the NSC was attempting to debunk the myth regarding hands-free devices. During that poll, they purposely campaigned around April’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
There are already several states in the U.S., including the District of Columbia, that have banned the use of handheld phones while driving, but there are no states that currently consider a ban on hands-free devices. Also, with the increase in the number of vehicles equipped with these hands-free devices and infotainment systems, drivers are more apt to make hands-free calls, send texts via voice and even update their social media status while still driving the car.
In that same poll, the NSC discovered that 53 percent of participants felt that hands-free devices installed into a vehicle are safer than hands-free devices purchased aftermarket – which only fuels the confusion.
Drivers Think They Are Making a Safe Choice
The biggest issue is that drivers are unaware they are actually putting themselves and other motorists at risk by using hands-free devices. That is because drivers are under the incorrect assumption that using a hands-free device is safe. In reality, the brain cannot multi-task as well as people think it can. When a person is driving and talking on a hands-free device, their brain is unable to compute the risks and fully monitor their activity while doing both activities – which means that one of the two will suffer.
The National Transportation Safety Board has already recommended several times that there be a nationwide ban on the use of all cellphones while driving – and this includes the use of hands-free devices. While there are states that have banned cellphone use, hands-free has yet to come up.
Were You Injured by a Distracted Driver?
Even if a person thinks that they are driving safely while using a hands-free device, the reality is that they are putting themselves and others on the road at risk by using hands-free calling. If you or a loved one was involved in an accident with a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Jeffrey H. Penneys, Esq. today to explore your legal options. Schedule a free consultation online or call us toll-free at 1-800-465-8795, office 215-987-3550 or cell 215-771-0430 now.