The Law Firm of Leisawitz Heller

70 percent of people use hands-free thinking it is safer

Anyone in the market for a new car has likely seen the explosion of hands-free devices that are coming standard with vehicles. Being able to talk on a cellphone, send and receive text messages, browse the Internet, or even update social media accounts while driving is now possible with just a voice command. This is great, right? Using hands-free devices eliminates the risk of distraction that comes with handheld device, right?

Actually, more than 30 studies have found that it is just as distracting and just as dangerous to use hands-free devices as it is to use handheld ones. The distraction, it seems, is in the amount of brain power that is diverted from driving, not in looking at or holding handheld devices.

Unfortunately, there are many people, both in Pennsylvania and across the country, that do not quite realize that handheld and hands-free devices are equally dangerous. In a recent poll by the National Safety Council, 80 percent of drivers said that they thought hands-free devices were safer. Worse yet, of the poll participants who used hands-free devices, 70 percent said they used them because they believed them to be safer.

It may not help that car manufacturers are including hands-free devices in their vehicles, but it is ultimately up to each individual driver to recognize when he or she is being distracted from driving. If he or she continues to allow the distractions to affect his or her driving, he or she could be held culpable if the driver causes an accident.

Source: Insurance Journal, “Why Hands-Free Cell Phones Are Not Safer: Safety Council,” April 15, 2014

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