Distracted driving is defined by the Center for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) as driving while doing another activity. With today’s ever-present technology, that other activity is often cell phone use or text messaging. A CDC study reported that 31 percent of drivers had read or sent a text message or an email while driving in the month leading up to the survey, and 69 percent of drivers had reported talking on a cell phone. Distracted driving is a real and serious problem. Over 420,000 people were injured and over 3,100 killed in distracted driving accidents last year.
Hands Free Doesn’t Mean Safer
Recently, hands-free devices have been marketed as a safety feature that can cut down on driving distractions. A hands-free device allows a driver to talk and text without holding the phone. A number of states, including Delaware, have even legislated bans on hand-held devices, forcing drivers to use hands-free technology in the car.
A study from the University of Utah, however, found that drivers were involved in the same number of traffic incidents while talking on the phone regardless if they were using a hands-free device or not. They also found that using a talk-to-text system was the most distracting hands-free activity.
Researchers reported the following problems with hands-free devices:
- Drivers are still distracted. Research finds that talking on a hands-free device is nearly as distracting as talking on a hand-held device or with a passenger in the car. Attention is still taken away from the task of driving.
- Hands free may create a false sense of security. Because drivers think they are engaging in a safer behavior with a hands-free device, they may not give driving the attention it needs while using one.
- Accident statistics remain unchanged. Data analyzed from some of the states with hand-held bans showed either no change or an increase in accidents after the ban went into effect.
Although cell phone use is not the only cause of distracted driving, it is an increasing and often deadly problem. If you or someone you love suffered injuries due to a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the experienced legal team at Morris James to fill out a no-obligation consultation form on our website.