Most people are aware of the danger of texting or talking on a handheld phone while driving. However, alternatives like headsets, console mounts or hands-free calling through a car’s Bluetooth connection might not be as safe as they seem. While hands-free devices allow drivers to keep their hands on the wheel, they can still be a distraction to drivers. What should you know about this technology and roadway safety?
Keeping your hands on the wheel is just one aspect of driving.
As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) notes, distraction takes many forms behind the wheel, and can include anything that takes a driver’s focus away from driving. Anything that takes a driver’s eyes from the road, their hands from the wheel or their attention from their surroundings can create risks.
Drivers may still miss as much as half of the information around them.
While drivers may maintain physical control of their vehicle, using a hands-free device still takes a driver’s focus off the road. When a driver’s focus drifts, it can lead to what is known as “inattention blindness.” In the case of hands-free devices, a driver can miss as many as half of the details about their surroundings. This can lead them to miss other vehicles, pedestrians, signage or hazards.
The National Safety Council (NSC) notes that talking on a phone can impact a driver’s reaction time. In fact, some studies indicate that reaction times could be slower than those of drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of .08.
Unfortunately, many people still utilize these devices while driving and put others at risk in the process. When a driver’s distraction leads to an accident, the people injured in that accident may want to explore their options for holding that driver responsible for their negligence.