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Study: Comparing hands-free and hand-held cellphones

Studies show that hands-free cellphones may not be a safe as drivers may think.

Navigating through traffic and alongside other vehicles takes immense focus and concentration. Nevertheless, many drivers continue to use cellphones while behind the wheel. Operating cellphones while driving is a major form of distraction and causes a surprising number of car accident injuries and deaths every year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving was responsible for injuring 391,000 people and killing 3,477 people in 2015 alone. These are accidents that may have otherwise been prevented if only motorists had focused on the road rather than other tasks while driving.

The safety of hands-free devices

Although hands-free cellphones are marketed as safe alternatives to using hand-held devices while driving, a study published by AAA found that they may not be as safe as some people think. Hands-free cellphones minimize the amount of manual distraction, as drivers do not have to use their hands to operate the phone, and visual distraction since drivers can keep their eyes on the road. They do, however, present a significant amount of cognitive distraction, as they remove the driver’s concentration from the road.

The National Safety Council reported that the human brain is incapable of performing two complex tasks at the same time. While people may think that they are successfully focusing on both tasks simultaneously, their brain is moving back and forth quickly between one task and the other. This causes a lapse in time where motorists are not focused on the road at all.

The study

To measure the amount of cognitive distraction caused by the use of hands-free cellphones, researchers monitored participants as they operated a simulator and a vehicle equipped with measuring devices. The devices recorded each driver’s heart rate, blood pressure, brain activity, eye movement and response time, as they performed several distractive tasks while driving. The tasks included the following:

· Composing an email using voice-activated devices.

· Listening to an audio book.

· Maintaining a conversation using a hand-held cellphone.

· Talking with someone using a hands-free device.

· Listening to the radio.

· Speaking to a passenger in the vehicle.

The results showed that drivers who used the hands-free cellphone were only slightly less distracted than those who were using hand-held cellphones.

What to do in the aftermath of an accident

If you have been involved in a serious accident, you may know the chaos that often erupts in the aftermath of the collision. You may have injuries, extensive property damage and emotional trauma following the accident. You may want to seek counsel from an experienced attorney who understands the legal process. A lawyer in Massachusetts may be able to answer your questions and get you back on your feet following a motor vehicle accident. Reach out to the attorneys at Dane Shulman Associates, LLC, today.

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