The nonprofit National Safety Council calls April Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Distracted driving continues to be a major safety problem on America’s roads, including here in Los Angeles.
According to the NSC, while many drivers understand that handling their cellphone while driving is dangerous, they believe that using a hands-free device is a safe alternative. The organization cites a survey it conducted, in which 80 percent of respondents said that talking on their phone hands-free is safer than holding the phone up to their ear.
Fifty-three percent of those surveyed trusted automakers to install hands-free devices that can be used safely behind the wheel. In addition, many state laws prohibiting calling or texting while driving allow hands-free cellphone use, so it is natural to assume that having both hands on the wheel means that it is safe to talk on the phone.
Not so. More than 30 studies have shown that hands-free technology does not prevent distracted driving, the NSC reports. This is because talking on the phone while driving splits your focus between your conversation and piloting your vehicle. The fact that both of your hands are on the wheel does not mean your mind is concentrating on traffic as it should be.
In fact, one study released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety concluded that hands-free devices are actually more distracting for drivers. Even texting using voice-to-text technology is worse than typing out your message yourself, according to an academic study.
Distracted drivers cause serious car accidents virtually every day. These motorists are neglecting their duty to use reasonable care to prevent harm to others, and should be held accountable for the consequences.