“Smartphone ownership is growing. In 2011, 52 percent of drivers reported owning a smartphone, and by 2014 that number had grown to 80 percent. The greatest increases in smartphone ownership are among adults age 40 and older.” - State Farm
With the increase of smartphones and accessible electronics, distracted driving laws have also been pushed to adhere to the increase in dangers of distracted driving. Since it is now illegal to hold our electronics while driving, hand free electronic accessories such as earpieces and dashboards have been increasing developing. The law states that you are allowed to use voice activation to answer phone calls and send texts, but does that mean you should still do it? You’ll be surprised at what the research shows.
Hands Free Electronics
Most people naturally think that having your hands free from electronics and on the wheel would create a safer driving environment than physically holding their devices. But the argument is not centrally focused on what you hold, instead it is focused on the conversation you’re having through the phone and if you’re multitasking while you’re driving. This is completely false.
Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour shows that telephone conversations when driving, even hands-free, can obstruct our visual awareness and interfere with overall performance.
It is a common misconception that someone hands-free on the phone is the same as talking to someone riding shotgun or a passenger. The National Safety Council calls this a “false sense of security.”
Why It’s Distracting
Our brains have are not able to process two sets of information at once. Instead, our brains delay one set of information, while the other processes. This is called the Psychological Refractory Period. It can switch between tasks, but the brain can’t do it all at once. This is why talking on the phone, even when using a hands free device is so dangerous.
The NSC stated that talking on the phone can decrease the area in the brain where it perceives moving images by one third.
Talking to someone in the car is a lot less distracting due to the fact that drivers can control the conversation if any potential hazards present themselves. Also, passengers can change the conversation depending on different driving conditions and realize that the driver may to stay focused. Those that are on the other side of the phone call are not able to analyze these conditions and therefore are more distracting to the driver and more susceptible to danger. Phone calls whether hands-free or not, require drivers to focus more on the call then the road, especially if there are noise interferences. it can easily cause the driver to picture facial appearances of the person, and of course worry about signal quality.
Texting and Driving Statistics
- 26 percent of motor vehicle crashes were due to handheld and hands-free phones
- 1,600,000 accidents per year are due to texting and driving
- 11 teens deaths occur EVERY DAY due to texting and driving
- Nearly 25% of ALL car accidents are due to texting and driving
Easy to Use Hands-Free Devices
With all this being said, the main point of this topic is to inform people that they need to pay more attention to the road. Many Bluetooth and hands-free devices out there still require drivers to pay attention to them than they really need to. But if you need make calls on the road, consider models like the SCOSCHE MOTORMOUTH available for a variety of cell phone models. This Bluetooth plug in features echo cancellation technology and crystal clear sound so drivers do not have to worry about hearing their callers in noisy vehicles, which can alter concentration. All you have to do is plug it in before you drive and it connects to your car speakers. And don’t forget wireless headsets that sit around your neck for easy and fast calls wherever you go.
Don’t wait and start driving safe today!