Hands-Free Technology Does Not Make Texting While Driving Safer
Twenty years ago, drunk drivers and drowsy drivers were two of the most significant risks on our nation’s highways. Although these threats are still present today, the prevalence of cell phone use has led to the emergence of distracted driving as a serious danger. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,092 people were killed and an additional 419,000 were injured in accidents involving distracted drivers in 2010, the last year for which statistics are available. Overall, accidents involving distracted drivers accounted for 18 percent of all motor vehicle crashes that year.
Because of the danger posed by distracted driving, many states enacted laws prohibiting the hand-held use of cell phones behind the wheel. Due to the increased use of texting as a primary means of communication, automakers and cell phone manufacturers developed hands-free systems that allowed drivers to receive and send texts, all through simple voice commands. The belief was that these devices were safer because they do not require drivers to remove their hands from the wheel or their eyes from the road.
Hands-Free Devices Still Unsafe
Unfortunately, research indicates that these hands-free devices do not, in fact, offer any safety advantage. A team of researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute recently studied the use of hands-free devices by a group of drivers on a closed course. Half of the drivers evaluated used their cell phones to send and receive text messages while driving. The remaining drivers used hands-free devices.
As expected, the drivers who used their cell phones to text while driving did poorly on the course. Researchers were surprised to find, however, that the drivers who used hands-free devices did little better. Although hands-free devices allow drivers to send and receive messages without removing their hands from the wheel, the act of composing a text – even one as simple as “I’m stuck in traffic” – required a significant amount of cognitive attention from the driver. Enough, in fact, to negatively affect his ability to control his vehicle.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
If you or someone you love has suffered a serious injury in a motor vehicle accident due to the negligence of another driver, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can assess your case and help you get the fair and adequate compensation you deserve for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. For more information about what a personal injury attorney can do for you, contact a lawyer today.