Do Hands-Free Phones Really Make Driving Less Hazardous?

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  • One legal solution which some US states have come up with to try to cut down on distracted driving by cell-phone usage is to require hands-free phones. In fact, this is one of the solutions that exist for truck drivers whose vehicles are often quite a bit more complicated than passenger vehicles and have even more challenging handling characteristics as far as braking and turning. However distracted driving is not really solved by hands-free cell phone usage.

    Numerous studies have shown that it isn't so much the pushing of buttons and the hands that are the problem with cell phone usage but rather it is the distraction to the driver's brain that is the problem. When a person is talking on the phone while driving a significant portion of their attention and of their brain's ability to focus is being used up by their conversation. So the distracted driving risk is still there even with a hands-free phone. Some studies seem to show that talking on the phone was the equivalent of being drunk behind the wheel.

    Those studies always have me thinking about people who spend a lot of time talking to their passengers while driving down the road. If the problem is the use of the brain in the conversation then even yapping with your husband or wife, co�workers or friends as you're driving down the road is probably a form of distracted driving. Certainly if you take your eyes off the road to turn and face someone that you're talking with that is definitely a dangerous maneuver. However there is an argument for people to not only put down the phone while driving but also to keep their head in the game and don't do too much talking even with other occupants of the vehicle.

    Another example of how talking can be a distraction while driving is the risk posed when you put several teenagers in a car together. Other studies have shown that as you add more young people into the car you greatly increase the chances of a wreck. The basic problem is that the more teenagers that are in the car talking and laughing and distracting the driver, the more likely a crash os going to occur. That is why the law in Virginia currently limits the number of non�related teenage passengers that new drivers are allowed to have.

    Distracted driving is a massive issue that becomes more problematic every year. Cars are one of the most dangerous things that we encounter in our day�to-day lives. Please drive defensively and don't be a distracted driver.

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