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Hands-free devices still cause cognitive distractions

Many states have passed laws prohibiting the use of cellphones and other hand-held devices behind the wheel. While most motorists can readily understand how holding a phone and looking down to check or send texts creates a visual distraction for drivers, many think that using hands-free technology to answer calls and respond to texts a safer alternative. Truth is, hands-free technology still uses a driver’s cognitive abilities, and a driver’s inattention to the task at hand can still cause accidents. 

Cognitive distraction 

Basically, anything that takes a driver’s mind, eyes and attention from the road is a cause of distraction. Hands-free devices, on the surface, may seem to mitigate the potential for distracted driving. However, the task requires a driver’s attention to speak with another person on the phone or mentally draft a response to a text. 

Studies have shown that humans simply cannot multi-task the way they think they can. When a driver uses hands-free technology, he or she must use a considerable amount of mental capacity to create or respond to texts, talk to the other person on the phone, or some other activity. This can lead to increased response times for things like slowing traffic or emergency situations, such as if a car cuts someone off in his or her lane. 

Hands-free does not mean accident-free 

Although hands-free technology may appear safer than using hand-held devices while driving, statistics have time and again proven the contrary. The best course of action is to put the phone away during the duration of a trip or pull over and stop to answer a call or text. If anyone was injured in motor vehicle accident caused by someone using hands-free technology while driving, that person can consult with an experienced personal injury attorney for advice on how to obtain just compensation.