Do Hands-Free Devices Really Improve Safety?
When cellphones became prevalent in the United States, so did distracted driving. Eventually, hand-free devices were invented in an attempt to curb the ever-growing issue of drivers taking calls or texting while driving. Now that this technology has been with us for over a decade, it is truly time to ask, do they actually help prevent distracted driving accidents?
What is a Hands-Free Device?
When hands-free devices first came into play with drivers, they were mostly limited to speakers that could attach to the driver’s ear and connect via Bluetooth to the driver’s phone. This allowed drivers to have phone conversations without having to hold their phone to their ear. These days, however, the types of hands-free devices vary wildly. Many modern cars, for example, allow the driver to have a conversation through the car’s Bluetooth system. As technology progresses, so will hand-free devices, which will make them easier and easier for drivers to use. How effective they are, however, is not fully clear.
The Different Types of Distractions
Not all kinds of distractions are made equal. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified three different kinds of distraction that a driver can experience. Those are:
- Visual: Your eyes are no longer on the road
- Manual: Your hands are no longer on the wheel
- Cognitive: Your mind is no longer focused on driving
The problem with cellphone use while driving is that a cellphone requires your eyes, your hands, and your mind, meaning that you will experience all three kinds of distraction. A hands-free device, on the other hand, eliminates the danger of visual and manual distractions. However, that does not mean the device is completely distraction-free.
Cognitive distraction is still a major problem with hand-free devices, as noted by research from the National Safety Council (NSC). The conversation you are having on the device can completely take your mind off of driving and lower your reaction time. Of course, drivers often have conversations with their passengers, but a passenger will be able to help the driver keep their eyes on the road and can notice the signs of distracted behavior. A passenger can also anticipate when the driver will need to be paying close attention to the road, such as merging onto the highway, and pause the conversation long enough for the driver to complete the more dangerous task. Someone outside the car will not be able to do any of this, which makes them more dangerous to talk with than someone else in the vehicle.
Hands-Free Devices and Auto Accidents
While using a hands-free device is certainly better than using a cellphone, the truth is they can still pose issues when it comes to distracted driving. Distracted drivers are one of the leading causes of car accidents, and while hands-free devices help the issue, they do not solve it. It would be better for drivers to hold off on having conversations with anyone who isn’t a passenger until they are at their destination. This will help prevent them from becoming cognitively distracted.
If you have been involved in an accident with a distracted driver, then you deserve proper compensation. But receiving compensation can be difficult if you don’t have an experienced Colorado Springs auto accident attorney by your side. We at The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. are experts in the field of law, and have helped many clients recover from the damages they suffered. For a helping hand and legal expertise, call our firm at (719) 475-2555. We are ready to help you.