Distracted driving is a serious problem among American motorists. In 2018, according to the NHTSA, almost 3,000 people died in a crash that involved a distracted driver. Distracted driving involves any activity that steals a percentage of your attention from the road. Activities may include texting or talking on cell phones.
To avoid accidents, some people propose the use of hands-free devices. Are hands-free devices any safer? The answer is no if the conversation interrupts the essential trio.
What is the essential trio?
To drive safely there are three requirements. First, your eyes must remain on the road. Two, you must keep your hands on the wheel. Third, you must keep your mind on driving. You must comprehend the road in front of you. When talking on the phone, you cannot give your full attention to the road ahead.
The National Safety Council compares talking and driving to talking and reading. You cannot read a book and talk on the phone at the same time. When you read, you need to use your hands, eyes and mind. Like with reading, if you drive and talk, your mind can only process one of those tasks.
What are the risks?
Each day there are over 1,000 injuries due to distracted drivers. Nearly 10 people die in fatalities every day due to a distracted driver. Hands-free devices may not be the answer to ending distracted driving. When you are on the phone, you do not have a full view of what happens around you. Drivers miss up to 50% of what they can see through the windshield when on the phone.