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Hands Free is Still Distracted Driving

Car Accidents

New York State Law Allows Hands-Free Use of Devices Such as Cell Phones

distracted woman driving car with headset

Most New Yorkers know that there are laws against using a cell phone while driving.  One of the reasons for these laws is to ensure that drivers have both hands on the steering wheel to promote the safe operation of vehicles.  Thanks to updated vehicle technology, Bluetooth, and all sorts of apps that have a driving mode, you can get as much done on your phone as you ever had before even hands-free.

The question is whether you should be doing so.  There are statistics regarding distracted driving that have been updated to include numbers from 2020.

  • 21% of teen drivers involved in car accidents were distracted by cell phones.
  • Texting or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. Accidents happen in 3 seconds.
  • Women are more likely to distracted by cell phones while men are more likely to drink and drive.
  • Reaching for an object while driving increases your chances of an accident by 8 times.
  • Parents with young children in the car are more likely to be distracted.

Distracted Driving is When You are Not Paying Full Attention to Driving.  Even Having a Conversation is a Distraction

Distracted does not only mean that you are using a cell phone or dealing with an unruly child.  Distractions could be visual, like sightseeing while driving, or manual, such as using a phone, or cognitive.  Most people refer to cognitive distractions as being something like driving under the influence.  However, when you are talking on the phone, your brain is thinking about the conversation.  Humans are notoriously poor at multitasking.   While you are concentrating on your phone call, even if it is hands-free, your ability to process information around you, such as cars changing lanes, changes to speed limits, or red lights and stop signs, is compromised.  Some studies show that your cognitive ability to drive is as impaired, or even more so, than if you were driving drunk.

Personal injury cases are about negligence.  Not every injury is a case.  For there to be a case, the injury must have been caused by the negligence of another person.  From a legal standpoint, negligence is defined as a failure to act with reasonable care or in a manner consistent with how a reasonable person should act.

Drivers Have a Responsibility to Everyone Around Them

When a person is driving, it is their responsibility to act in a manner that is safe for themselves, those in the vehicle with them, and those around them.  If a person allows themselves to be distracted by a cell phone, whether hands-free or not, they are not acting in a manner that is reasonable under the circumstances.  They have become a hazard on the road and danger to themselves and others.

Driving is something that many people take for granted.  If we need to go somewhere, we just get in the car and go.  People often forget that driving is a significant responsibility, and when people forget about that responsibility, accidents become inevitable.