April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has scheduled an $8.5 million ad campaign and a week of stepped-up enforcement for texting and cell phone bans. The slogan the NHTSA is pushing is “U Text. U Drive. U Pay.”
The National Safety Council (NSC) is also conducting its own campaign during Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The NSC’s efforts focus on informing people that hands-free devices are dangerous, despite popular beliefs to the contrary. Victims injured by a driver using a hands-free device or otherwise distracted by a phone can get help making a motor vehicle accident claim from a Mobile texting accident attorney.
Drivers Misinformed About Hands-Free Devices
The campaign to inform drivers about the myth of hands-free devices is an important one because many drivers don’t know the truth. Cars.com reports that around 80 percent of drivers think that hands-free phones are safe. These drivers may use voice-to-text programs as well as talking on their phones using Bluetooth or other hands-free systems.
When drivers do use hands-free systems to complete electronic tasks in the car, around 70 percent say they do so for safety reasons. The NSC hopes to inform these drivers that they aren’t any safer and may actually be taking a bigger risk. Studies have shown that a voice-to-text program makes sending or receiving a text more distracting for drivers than just holding the phone to type or read the text.
Furthermore, the brain is not able to multitask effectively, and studies have shown you end up switching your focus from the phone to the road and back again when you are talking or listening on a call. You don’t do this very well, and you miss as much as 50 percent of the visual information outside your windshield. This makes sense, since the area of your brain devoted to visual activity is 1/3 less active when you’re on the phone (even using a hands-free kit), compared to when you are not multitasking.
Still, about nine percent of all drivers at any given time are using hands-free devices on the road. These drivers aren’t breaking any laws. Although USA Today reports that 12 states have complete bans on handheld phone use and 43 have bans on texting, no state has banned hands-free systems. Drivers thus may be unlikely to ever find out that what they are doing in their cars is risky until it is too late and they get into a collision. The NSC’s campaign hopes to increase awareness.
Drivers need to avoid any type of use of electronic devices, even if they have a hands-free kit. Most safety experts urge a complete federal ban of cell phone use in vehicles, but this is not likely to become law anytime soon. Until it does, it is up to drivers to voluntarily make the right choice and exercise appropriate care behind the wheel.
Accident lawyers in Mobile can help if you have been injured in an Alabama traffic accident. Contact the Mike Slocumb Law Firm at 1-800-HURTLINE.