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Are hands-free cellphones a safe alternative?

If you are a Georgia motorist, you know that using a hand-held cellphone while driving is now illegal in the state. Instead, you may have started using hands-free cellular devices in order to stay in compliance with the law. Hands-free devices are thought to be safer to use, as they eliminate visual and manual distractions you may experience. You still, however, run the risk of getting into a serious car accident while using a hands-free cellphone, as studies show these devices are a major source of cognitive distraction.

A study published by AAA measured the amount of cognitive distraction caused by certain activities you may engage in while behind the wheel. While participants drove a simulator vehicle and an actual car wired with monitoring devices, researchers monitored their eye movement, heart rate, response time and brain activity. Drivers were asked to engage in the following tasks while driving:

  •          Listen to the radio
  •          Use a hands-free and hand-held cellphone
  •          Listen to an audio book
  •          Use voice-activated technology to compose an email
  •          Talk to another person in the vehicle

Surprisingly, the results of the study showed that people who used hands-free cellphones while driving still experienced a significant amount of cognitive distraction compared to those who used hand-held cellphones.

When you engage in another activity while driving, your brain cannot actively focus on the road. Rather than concentrate solely on driving, the brain bounces back and forth between tasks, leaving moments in time where the brain isn’t focused on driving at all. During this time, you may run traffic signals, fail to see pedestrian crosswalks and get into a major car accident.

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.

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