You've probably heard it all before – don't text and drive, and don't talk on your phone while driving. It's dangerous. So, what's the solution? Hands-free text and talking. It's much safer because you can keep your eyes on the road, right? Well, some new research is busting that myth wide open.
It's All Distracted Driving
It doesn't really matter whether you're talking on the phone or using a hands-free device.
If you're distracted while driving, you're distracted. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, there are several types of distraction. There are visual distractions, manual distractions, and cognitive distractions.
While a hands-free device may not be distracting in the usual sense, that is visual or manual, it is a cognitive distraction. You must focus at least part of your attention on the device, who is speaking to or texting you. You must process what is being communicated and this can take your focus off the road.
Other notable forms of distraction cited by the CDC include watching videos, surfing the web (People actually do this? Yes, yes they do), applying makeup (again, yes), combing hair, reading a map, using GPS devices, eating and drinking while driving, and reading a paper map.
Problems Occur When There Critical Hands-Free Systems Fail
The prominent Vancouver car accident lawyers at Watson Goepel all too often see cases where the technology fails. Even if a hands-free device is put out of sight, and proper precautions are taken, there's still no guarantee that systems won't fail, causing the user to pick up his or her phone to reestablish the hands-free communication.
For example, a dropped call may require the user to pick up the phone and redial. The second this happens, there's a manual and visual distraction introduced.
Not surprisingly, the statistics back up what many people instinctively already knew: distracted driving is dangerous. It's the second leading cause of vehicle fatalities in British Columbia. Roughly 88 people were killed between 2009 and 2013 because they were distracted. The only thing worse was speeding – 105 deaths.
Even drinking and driving, or driving while under the influence of drugs, didn't beat distracted driving – about 86 people were killed during the same time period.
In 2013, the police wrote 51,200 tickets to drivers using electronic devices while driving. They don't seem to be getting the message. In B.C., it's illegal to hold, operate, or communicate or watch the screen of a handheld device while driving a motor vehicle. Sending or receiving text messages is also prohibited. Holding or operating a computer screen of any kind is also illegal while driving.
There is some research showing that driving while texting, and it only takes five seconds of distraction, is equal to driving the entire length of a football field blindfolded – yikes!
So, before you head out there on the road, make sure you either leave the phone at home, or shut it down before you put the vehicle into drive or first gear. Not only will it help save your life, it will prevent you from getting a speeding ticket.
By Luis Rogers
Luis Is a self-confest technology nerd. With an eye on the tech world constantly, he enjoys sharing what he finds online. Look for his informative posts on a number of today's top websites.