Are Hands-Free Phones Less Distracting?

Statistics from sources like the AAA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration demonstrate that distracted driving is the cause of at least one out of 10 fatal motor vehicle accidents in the United States. A driving distraction is anything that takes your mind off the task of driving. If the distraction also removes your hands from the wheel or forces you to take your eyes off the road, it is even more dangerous. 

Cell phones are not the only driving distraction, but they tend to get the most attention because they can divert your mind, your hands and your eyes all at the same time. Manufacturers have attempted to ameliorate the risk of cell phone use behind the wheel by producing hands-free systems, but are these really safer? 

No significant safety benefits

Lawmakers in many states and municipalities have bought into the idea that hands-free cell phones are safer to use while operating a vehicle than a handheld phone. They have enacted laws that allow hands-free cell phone use even while they ban the use of handheld devices. 

However, a cell phone is not risk-free even if it is hands-free. Researchers have concluded that there is no significant safety benefit of a hands-free phone over a handheld one after conducting numerous studies. 

Mind off driving

Voice-activated cell phones remove the need to take your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road. However, they still take your mind off the task of operating your vehicle, which is the one thing that all driving distractions have in common.