Most people are aware that texting or answering a call on one’s cellphone while driving can lead to distracted driver accidents. Many states have passed legislation prohibiting the use of cellphones by drivers behind the wheel, but a lot of motorists still think it is safe to use hands-free technology to answer calls or send texts. However, this form of communication still requires a significant amount of cognitive functioning on the part of the driver and may not be a panacea as many may think.
The dangers of cognitive distraction
Driving an automobile requires a driver’s full attention. While it is obvious how looking down at a phone to answer a text would cause physical and visual distractions, some people think that if they use hands-free technology to complete the task, they still have their eyes on the road and are not distracted. However, hands-free devices still require cognitive functioning, which may take away from the ability needed to safely operate a motor vehicle.
Some people believe they can multi-task. However, studies have shown that people are not as adept at doing several tasks at once as some may think. When using hands-free technology, a person’s mind is mostly devoted to talking to the other person on the phone or drafting a mental response to a text. During this time, although the driver may have his or her eyes on the road, it does not mean the driver is using his or her full cognitive ability to drive safely. This can lead to increased response times and even total inattention to the task of driving.
Hands-free not a safe alternative
Because hands-free technology still requires a lot of a driver’s cognitive ability, it is not a safe alternative for making or answering calls, texting, checking social media, etc. Drivers should simply put their phones away completely while on the road and pull over and stop if they need to respond to a call or text. Should someone suffer injury in an accident caused by an alleged distracted driver, that individual can consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to find out more about their options for obtaining much-needed restitution.