Is Hands-Free Calling Safer for Drivers?
Helping Victims of Distracted Drivers in Bergen and Hudson Counties
Distracted driving is among the leading causes of vehicle accidents in the United States, leading to thousands of fatal accidents, and hundreds of thousands of accidents resulting in injuries every year. While there are numerous forms of distracted driving, in recent years, one of the most prevalent has been talking on the phone behind the wheel.
But, does this include both handheld and hands-free cell phone use, or just handheld? Many people seem to believe that holding the phone in your hand increases the risk factor. Last year, the Mythbusters even tried to bust the “myth” that handheld and hands-free talking behind the wheel are equally dangerous.
But, they failed.
Handheld and Hands-Free Calling are Equally Risky Behind the Wheel
Research has shown that handheld and hands-free calling are equally risky behind the wheel. In fact, more than 30 studies have shown this to be the case. While as many as 70 percent of survey respondents in some studies stated that they chose to use hands-free devices for safety reasons, crash data show that these hands-free devices do not provide any safety benefits over handheld calling.
This is because the risks associated with phone conversations stem primarily from the impact that talking on the phone (by any means) has on the brain. As the National Safety Council puts it: “Driving and cell phone conversations both require a great deal of thought. When doing them at the same time, your brain is unable to do either well.”
In other words, talking on the phone takes your mind off of the road, and this leads to slower reaction times, later braking, looking past red lights and stop signs, and other problems that often lead to dangerous car accidents.
Why Does New Jersey Law Allow Hands-Free Cell Phone Use?
Like many states, New Jersey’s cell phone law allows drivers over the age of 21 (other than bus drivers) to talk on their phones hands-free behind the wheel. The law currently prohibits:
- Handheld cell phone use behind the wheel by all drivers;
- Hands-free cell phone use by bus drivers and drivers under the age of 21; and,
- Texting behind the wheel by all drivers.
Why is this? During the push to enact cell phone driving laws, the data on the risks of hands-free calling was not yet readily available. It seems that New Jersey, like the numerous other states that have similar laws, simply did not take into account the risks of hands-free cell phone use behind the wheel.
What to Do if You Have Been Injured By a Distracted Driver
But, just because hands-free cell phone use is legal does not mean that it is acceptable. Talking hands-free while driving is dangerous, and those who choose to do so can often be held liable for their victims’ injuries. If you have been injured by a distracted driver, you could be entitled to significant financial compensation. You should speak with an attorney as soon as possible about protecting your legal rights.
Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Hasson, P.C. for a Free Consultation
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Hasson, P.C. provide experienced legal representation for victims of distracted driving accidents in Bergen and Hudson Counties. To find out if you may have a claim for compensation, call (201) 928-0300 or contact us online for a free consultation today.