Study reveals hands free cellphones are not safe to use while driving

Studies show that hands free cellphones are not safe to use while behind the wheel, as some drivers may think.

Since Illinois prevents certain drivers from texting or talking on hand held cellphones, some drivers have turned to using hands free devices as a safe and legal alternative. A study published by the National Safety Council and AAA, however, have reported that hands free devices may not be as safe to use behind the wheel as some people may think. In fact, hands free cellular devices act as a significant source of cognitive distraction, which could lead to serious car accidents, injuries and even death.

The study

Researchers set out to measure the amount of cognitive distraction drivers are subject to when engaging in certain tasks. The participants were studied while driving in a simulator, as well as a motor vehicle that was equipped with monitoring devices. As the subjects operated the vehicle, they were asked to participate in the following tasks:

• Uphold a conversation with a passenger in the car

• Listen to the radio

• Maintain a conversation using a hands free cellphone

• Speak with someone over a hand-held cellphone

• Compose a text using a voice-activated device

• Listen to a book on tape

The amount of cognitive distraction that each participant experienced was measured by reviewing drivers' reaction time to certain hazards, EEG readings, subjective interpretations of the task and Event-Related Brain Potentials.

The findings

After careful study of the subjects, researchers found that using the voice-activated device to compose an email showed the greatest amount of cognitive distraction, followed by talking on a hand-held device. Maintaining a conversation on a hands free cellphone, however, acted as a significant distraction to drivers as well. The results showed that drivers should not talk or text on any type of cellphone or voice-activated technology while behind the wheel. Participating in any of these activities increases the risk of a catastrophic collision, which could injure or take the life of an innocent person.

When you've been injured in an accident

People who are hurt in a motor vehicle accident may be left with injuries that could affect them for the rest of their lives. In some cases, people may be unable to return to work while they recover from their injuries. During this time they may be left with extensive medical bills and little to no income. Depending on the factors surrounding your case, you may be entitled to compensation for your lost wages from work, emotional trauma, physical injuries and property damage. A personal injury attorney in Illinois may be able to help you decipher whether you are eligible for compensation, as well as answer any questions you may have regarding your case.