Most newer vehicles have the ability to connect to people's phones so that they can use them hands-free while driving without having to take eyes off the road and hand's off the wheel. It is supposed to help reduce distracted driving accidents specifically related to cellphone use. The truth is, hands-free devices are not a distracted driving cure-all. In fact, this technology comes with its own issues that also cause distracted driving.
Hands-on cellphone use for texting and talking while driving or stopped in traffic is illegal in the state of Texas. However, several cities have hands-free device laws in place to allow that you to use this feature within city limits.
Allowing drivers to use hands-free technology may have had some effect on the number of cellphone-related auto accidents, but not as strong as an effect as lawmakers would have hoped. Why? Cognitive distractions still affect people utilizing their phones even in a hands-free way.
Distracted driving accident statistics
Every single day across the country, roughly 100 people die in car crashes. Upward of 94 percent of auto collisions are the result of driver error. At any given time, researchers believe that 7 percent of all drivers are using their cellphones in some way. Cellphone-related distractions are said to contribute to a significant number of fatal accidents.
Why hands-free use is still risky
The idea behind hands-free device use is that it keeps a person's eye on the road and hands on the wheel. Sounds great, but it also takes a person's mind off the road. When talking on the phone while driving, the brain's ability to process what it sees decreases up to one-third. Therefore, it is completely possible for you to talk on a hands-free device, look out the windshield and still miss up to 50 percent of the things going on right in front of you.
When your mind is not on driving, it is just as dangerous as manual or visual distractions. Studies have shown this is true repeatedly, yet people still use their phones or perform a number of other activities while behind the wheel that keeps them from driving safely for themselves, their passengers and others with whom they share the road.
When the actions of a distracted driver affect your family
If you suffered injuries in an accident with a distracted driver or lost a loved one in such an event, the losses you have and are experiencing can certainly take a toll on you and your family. According to state laws, as distracted driving is a negligent action you may be able to successfully seek compensation for your losses through legal means.