Are Hands-Free Devices the Answer to the Distracted Driving Problem?


April 6, 2013
By Lee Law Offices, P.A. on April 6, 2013 3:41 AM |

When it comes to talking on a cell phone while driving, it is easy to see how dangerous it is to hold the phone in your hand as you talk. After all, your hands would need to be off the wheel as you dial the phone and as you chat away with the phone pressed up against your ear. To try to combat this danger of a person holding a cell phone while driving, many states have passed laws banning the use of a cell phone behind the wheel except when using a hands-free kit. 1251872_bluetooth.jpg

Our Greenville accident attorneys know that using hands-free devices is safer than using cell phones without them. However, this doesn't mean it is safe to talk on your cell phone all day as you drive. In fact, a recent White Paper published by the National Safety Council (NSC) indicates that talking on a cell phone is still dangerous even when you are using a hands-free kit. This is because the conversation you are having on the phone requires you to multi-task and to devote some of your energy and thought-process to something other than the road.

The Dangers of Cell Phones With a Hands-Free Device

According to the White paper published on the website of the NSC:


  • Drivers on a hands-free device tend to look but not really to see or process the information they are seeing. A driver on a cell phone may miss as much as 50 percent of the information in his driving environment while he is talking.

  • Human brains have only a limited capacity for attention and are not effective at multi-tasking. When you are talking on your cell phone, your brain focuses on the conversation and you miss important driving cues.

  • Drivers who are talking on a cell phone will have a measurably slower reaction time when faced with potential hazards. When your brain has to switch its focus from the phone to reacting to a hazard, seconds of precious time can be lost as your brain switches between tasks.

  • Drivers on cell phones have more difficulty staying in their lanes. Lane keeping, as it is called, becomes harder when you are focused on the phone instead of on the road.

For all of these reasons, driving while on a cell phone, even if it is hands free, can be dangerous. As your brain is concentrating on something besides driving, your ability to drive in a safe way suffers and you have a significantly greater chance of becoming involved in an accident. In fact, the White Paper indicates that having a cell phone conversation as you drive can result in an accident risk that is four times greater than the risk non-distracted drivers face.

Because of the dangers, the National Transportation Safety Board has recommended that all 50 states and D.C. impose a complete ban on using portable electronic devices when driving, including using cell phones with hands-free devices. States have not yet complied with this requirement and instituted complete bans for adults, although many do have extensive restrictions or even outright bans on teen cell phone use while behind the wheel.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, contact the Greenville injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:

United States Is Number One for Texting and Driving, North Carolina Accident Lawyer Blog, March 23, 2013