Hands-Free Can Still Cause a Distraction

Hands-free features and devices may have prevented some accidents. However, at the same time, they are still causing accidents. If a hands-free driver hits you, their distraction was likely a factor in the accident, and you might have legal rights.

Everyone knows how serious distracted driving can be. Many states have outlawed the use of texting or making a call on a hand-held phone. While not using your hands to text or call can decrease the chances of an accident, it can still be distracting and lead to accidents. Suppose you were in an accident with someone who was using their phone hands-free. In that case, it doesn’t necessarily absolve them of liability. A Round Rock personal injury lawyer can investigate further to determine exactly what happened. However, it’s quite possible that using a hands-free system still led to distraction which contributed to the accident.

Types of Driver Distraction

To understand how hands-free drivers can still be distracted, it’s essential to recognize that there are different types of driver distractions. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), distracted driving comes in three types:

  • Visual— taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual— taking your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive— thinking about something else which takes your mind off driving or sometimes just “zoning out”

Hands-free might remove much of the visual and manual distractions of phone use while driving. Still, it doesn’t remove the cognitive distraction, which can also result in a car accident.

What Studies Reveal About Hands-Free Devices

Research reported by the National Safety Council (NSC) shows that the ability of the brain to process moving images decreases by as much as one-third when drivers are talking on the phone. Furthermore, motorists looking at the road through the windshield can miss seeing up to half of what happens on the road when they talk on any kind of cell phone, even if they are hands-free.

Researchers for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety tested the hands-free systems of most major motor vehicle manufacturers to find out how much of a distraction the systems alone create. They found that the systems all caused distractions worse than talking on hand-held devices. High levels of mental distraction lingered for as long as 27 seconds after the driver was done using the hands-free system. Motorists using the least-distracting hands-free systems were still distracted for over 15 seconds after using the system.

AAA researchers classified driver distractions on a five-point scale, one being a mild distraction and five being the maximum. A rating of two or more is potentially dangerous, according to AAA. Using a hand-held cell phone is a level two distraction. All hands-free systems ranked between 2.4 and 4.6. An experienced Round Rock personal injury attorney will likely also tell you that hands-free is just as if not more distracting than using a hand-held cell phone. 

Hit by a Hands-Free Driver? Call an Experienced Round Rock Personal injury Lawyer Today

While hands-free systems might comply with local and state laws, they aren’t necessarily safe. The use of hands-free systems doesn’t rule out negligence by the other driver, even though the driver and their insurance company would like you to believe that. Suppose you sustain an injury in an accident in the Round Rock area in which another driver was using a hands-free system. In that case, you could be entitled to compensation for your damages. To find out more, schedule your free consultation with a skilled attorney at the Elissa I. Henry Law Firm, PLLC. Call us at (512) 766-4529 today or complete our online contact form.