There is no denying that cellphone use while operating a vehicle contributes to distracted driving accidents. However, many drivers believe that the source of distraction is the act of typing a number and then holding the cellphone while driving with only one hand on the wheel, rather than the phone conversation itself.
That is why it is popular belief that a hands-free cellphone can reduce such issues, allowing drivers to make calls without taking their hands off the steering while and their eyes off the road. Unfortunately, according to several studies, hands-free cellphone use while driving is not considered risk-free driving.
The Dangers of Hands-Free Cellphone Use
According to the National Safety Council, using a hands-free device while driving is no safer than a hand-held phone because both are a distraction. In simulation studies conducted at the University of Utah, talking on a hands-free cellphone has a similar level of distraction as talking on a hand-held device.
The main problem with hands-free cellphones is that they fail to address the true issue regarding cellphone use while driving: an inability to keep the mind focused on the primary task of driving. While the brain can quickly toggle between tasks, it cannot do two things at the same time. While you drive, the activity in the area of the brain that processes moving images decreases by up to one-third when listening to talking on a phone.
Research shows that it does not matter whether the cellphone is in the driver’s hand or attached to the dashboard, the act of speaking on the phone itself divers the driver’s attention, making it extremely difficult to be completely aware of his or her surroundings.