Does Hands-Free Equal Accident-Free?

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At least one out of every four car accidents are caused by the driver being distracted. And at least 50 percent of those accidents involve texting or using a smartphone for another purpose. That is a large number of accidents involving the use of a smartphone. And that number, according to our team of personal injury attorneys in Louisiana, is likely under-reported because drivers don’t want to admit to being distracted by a cell phone.

You might think that going hands free would lower these numbers. The fact is, hands free cell phone use does not make it safer to talk on the cell phone while driving. It can actually make things worse.

The Distraction of the Smartphone

Take hands free out of the equation. Using a smartphone while driving causes major distractions. The driver takes hands off the wheel to deal with the cell phone, whether it is to answer a phone call or to text someone. The driver has to take his or her eyes off the road while manipulating the phone. The driver’s thoughts are on the smartphone and not on controlling the car.
Hands-free should make things better. The driver doesn’t have to take hands off the steering wheel to answer the phone. He or she doesn’t have to take eyes off the road. That is supposed to remove two of the three distractions commonly associated with the use of a smartphone while driving.

Hands Free Reality

Hands-free doesn’t make things any safer. Multiple studies have shown that going hands-free doesn’t make any significant difference when it comes to lowering accident rates. It comes down to mental distraction.

    • A driver who is talking on a smartphone is focused on the conversation, not on the road or vehicle. That is true whether the driver is holding the phone or using a hands free device.
    • With the mind engaged with the phone call, drivers spend less time watching the road. Again, it is true whether the driver holds the phone or goes hands free.
  • Driver reaction time is two to three times slower when distracted by a phone call. Holding the phone or using a hands free device makes no real difference.

Does Hands Free Make Things Worse?

Most studies show that going hands free is as bad as using a smartphone manually. However, there are some signs that going hands free can actually be worse in some ways. Here are two of the more troubling signs:

    • Driving with a hands free device gives some drivers a false sense of security. They think it makes them and their passengers safer. This makes the driver over confident.
  • Using voice-to-text technology to send texts hands free is actually more distracting that trying to do it manually. This is especially true when the voice-to-text technology is part of a dashboard infotainment center.

So, going hands free definitely doesn’t mean accident free.

When To Call Personal Injury Attorneys in Louisiana

Involved in an accident with a distracted driver? You need to take action as soon as possible. Call the personal injury attorneys in Louisiana at Mike Brandner Injury Attorneys for assistance. You can reach us at (504) 345-1111.

Our office opens at 8:00 a.m. and closes at 5:00 p.m. However, you can get in touch with us any time of day or night, 24/7. You can also reach us via LiveChat. We offer free consults and you pay no fee unless we win your case!