Hands-Free Devices While Driving: Safer or Not?
Using a hands-free device while driving in Massachusetts is sometimes touted as a safer option, although research indicates otherwise.
It is critical to recognize that driving involves a large degree of cognitive and visual focus. When having a conversation, whether in person or over the phone, our brains are analyzing and responding to the dialogue, which might distract us while driving.
According to research, using a hands-free smartphone while driving might still cause cognitive distractions. Research undertaken by the University of Utah, for example, discovered that drivers using hands-free devices were slower to react to unexpected traffic situations, such as a pedestrian crossing the street.
Furthermore, the American Automobile Association (AAA) discovered that using hands-free devices might still cause visual distractions, including as glancing away from the road to find a phone or finish a call.
It's also worth mentioning that even if a driver can avoid cognitive and visual distractions, there's always the matter of manual distractions to contend with. Even if you are not holding your phone, you may need to adjust the level, change the song, or hang up. These manual distractions, which require the driver to take their hands off the steering wheel, can potentially be deadly.
Another research study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) discovered that using hands-free devices tripled the risk of an accident.
As of February 23, 2020, it is illegal to use any electronic device, including mobile telephones, unless the device is used in hands-free mode in Massachusetts. Drivers who violate the law face fines up to $500, insurance surcharges, and mandatory completion of a distracted driving educational program.
To summarize, using a hands-free device while driving is not always safer than using a handed device. The cognitive and visual distractions associated with using a hands-free device can still be hazardous, and even manual distractions can be deadly. If you must use a device while driving, pull over to a safe spot and park before making or answering a call or text.
My team at The Law Office of Patrick J. Regan has been handling auto accident personal injury cases for the last 30 years in Massachusetts. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident, call me today at (978) 744-1220, or fill out our contact form for a free case evaluation. If you have a case, we will get to work right away to get you the compensation that you deserve.