HANDS-FREE DEVICES – DOES IT MEAN RISK-FREE?
It is clear that most drivers these days are distracted in some way. They are paying attention to something other than the road, and, as the CDC reports, they are paying a price with increased car accidents. Crashes happen when:
- You take your eyes off the road;
- Take your hands off the wheel;
- Focus your attention away from driving.
These actions can be instant, but they can cause serious car accidents. Texting while driving is especially bad, because you are doing all three of these actions.
Distracted driving, then in all forms, is one of highest causes of car crashes across the country. Safe driving means driving without risky habits that take your mind off the road. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) partners with the states and local police help with campaigns and ads to make drivers more aware of the dangers. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
States set their own laws regarding cell phone use while driving. Louisiana has banned texting for all drivers, whether reading, writing, or sending them. Police can cite drivers for this violation. Drivers under 18 cannot use cell phones, or any wireless devices, while driving. Hands-free devices are allowed in Louisiana. RS 32:300.8 – Louisiana State Legislature. Does that make your driving safer?
Most drivers, in fact, 80% of them, do believe they are much safer while using a cell phone with a hands-free device. It can be a Bluetooth earpiece, or through your vehicle’s system, or a speaker feature on your phone. Research is showing these devices are more distracting than, say, talking to the person next to you. A passenger can help you focus on the road, because they can see what is ahead and get you back to driving.
Drivers feel safe because they have their hands on the wheel while talking, and they feel like they are watching their driving. However, it is very difficult to keep your mind on your driving when talking on the phone. You are trying to “multitask”, which is not as easy as you think. You can usually sense, while driving, when you need to move quickly to avoid an accident, because you see the risk. When you are talking on the phone, you may not be able to react quickly enough to avoid the danger. You probably do not even realize that you are distracted. That is the major problem with hand-held devices;
- Your brain cannot process a risk as quickly when you are talking .
- Your vision is affected, because you may not even see a danger ahead.
Drivers must understand how their brain and their vision are affected by distracted driving. Don’t feel that you are safer because of a hands-free device. Handheld or hands-free, talking on a cell phone affects your driving and can cause a major car accident. No matter what the law says, you should make sure you are safe while driving and protect yourself from a car crash.
If you or a loved one has suffered from a personal injury or wrongful death because of a distracted driver, contact the Law Offices of L. Clayton Burgess as soon as possible. We can provide you with an initial consultation FREE of charge to you regardless of whether you retain our services. Contact us Toll Free: (877) 234-7573.