How safe are you when drive while having a phone conversation using hands-free wireless technology? Well, according to a University of Utah study and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the answer is not very.
The University of Utah study showed that motorists that used hands-free phones were as impaired as drunk drivers. The study found that compared with undistracted drivers motorists who talked on handheld or hands-free cell phones:
- Drove slightly slower
- Were 19 percent slower to resume normal speed after breaking, and
- Were more likely to crash
In fact, three study participants rear-ended the pace car. All were talking on cell phones. None were drunk.
Further, the NHTSA has indicated that hands-free cell use causes a cognitive distraction that degrades a driver’s performance. Drivers are less likely to pick up on visual and audio cues that are necessary to avoid an accident. This makes hands-free cell use just as dangerous as handheld cell use.
Distracted driving is distracted driving. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by hands-free cell use. There is no meaningful difference between handheld and hands-free cell use while driving. Both are dangerous.