Drivers beware: Hands free cellphones are dangerous to use while driving

Distracted drivers using hands free cellular devices continue to threaten the lives of innocent motorists on the road.

At least 91 percent of American adults are cellphone owners, according to a 2013 Pew Research Internet Project report. During that year, 3,154 people lost their lives in distracted driving car accidents nationwide and an additional 424,000 people were injured, as reported by Distraction.gov. People who use their cellphones while driving pose a serious threat to Pennsylvania motorists. In order to decrease the high number of distracted driving auto accidents, injuries and deaths, Pennsylvania lawmakers enacted legislation banning motorists from texting and driving. However, many studies show that talking on a hand held or hands free cellphone while driving is a significant source of distraction and may lead to catastrophic accidents.

Types of driver distractions

In order to understand how hands free devices are dangerous to drivers, people must first know the types of driver distractions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there are three major types of distractions. Manual distractions occur when drivers engage in an activity that requires them to remove their hands from the steering wheel. When drivers are prompted to remove their eyes from the road, they are visually distracted. Cognitive distractions, on the other hand, occur when a motorist's mental focus is taken off of driving altogether. Certain driving distractions, such as changing the radio station, programming a navigation system or texting, involve several different distractions. This makes them even more dangerous.

Hands free devices

Since hands free devices do not require use of the driver's hands or eyes, they are not manually or visually distracting. When the driver is engaged in a conversation using a hands free device, he or she is cognitively distracted. Rather than remaining focused on the task of driving, the driver is now thinking about the conversation. Although this may not seem like an impossible task, research from the National Safety Council found that the human brain is unable to effectively engage in two tasks simultaneously. For example, when the brain is listening to the conversation, it is not fully focused on driving. During this time, drivers cannot quickly respond to dangerous driving situations involving bad weather conditions, objects in the road, pedestrians or even negligent drivers.

Getting back on track

Distracted driving car accidents can be devastating. Not only do they have the potential to cause catastrophic injuries, such as severe brain trauma, spinal cord damage and limb amputations, but they can result in death. A personal injury attorney in Pennsylvania may provide essential legal counsel to those who have survived distracted driving auto accidents. Whether you suffer from lifelong injuries or have lost a loved one because of an accident, you may be eligible for compensation.

Keywords: distracted, driving, texting, accident, injury