As a Personal Injury Attorney I won’t talk to a caller who is driving. Neither should you.
Contrary to popular belief, using a “hands free” cell phone does not make you, or anyone else on the roadway, safer. The false sense of security provided by the hands free method may even increase the risks to personal safety. According to the National Safety Council, (NSC) “hands free is not risk free.” In fact, hands free cellular devices create a false sense of security. To stay safe, the NSC advises keeping your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel, and your mind on driving. You’ve seen the bumper sticker: “Hang up and drive.”
The NSC defines hands free cell phones as cell phones that employ one of the following devices:
- An earpiece;
- A dashboard system; or
- A speaker phone.
Why Hands Free Cell Phones Do Not Increase Safety
The Inability to Multitask
Despite what you may believe, humans cannot do two things at the same time.Rather, our brains toggle between tasks, literally dividing attention between each of the things one might be doing “at once.” But there’s more to it than that.When our brains divide attention, the part of our brains designed to process moving images actually decreases its activity by up to 1/3rd. In other words, when you are talking on a “hands-free” cell phone while driving, you are way worse at perceiving dangers. I don’t want you driving “hands-free” near my family and friends.
A Reduction in Observation Abilities
Additionally, when talking and driving, our ability to observe surrounding reduces by up to 50%.
Safe driving is largely a thought based activity … like reading a book. Imagine your brain’s ability to read and understand the content of a book, while simultaneously talking on the phone. Driving, according to the NSC, requires the same type and level of attention as reading.
Evidence Based Conclusions
In light of our brain’s inability to perform two tasks at once, along with reduction in our brain’s ability to observe and process images while both driving and talking, it is no wonder we often see erratic behavior from drivers on cell phones – even hands free. In fact, a recent study comparing cell phone use to drunk driving found “impairments associated with using a cell phone while driving can be as profound as those associated with driving while drunk.”
Every day, just about 100 people die in car crashes. Ninety four percent (94%) of all car crashes are caused by driver error. At any moment, an estimated seven percent (7%) of all drivers are using cell phones. You do the math. Driving while on the phone is just stupid. Don’t do it.
Under Alaskan law, drivers who hurt people while doing something stupid (like drinking, speeding or talking on a cell phone) are held accountable for the harm they cause. The law holds bad drivers accountable for all the damages they cause. Think about it … if the law failed to hold bad drivers accountable for stupid driving, the roads would even more dangerous. Remember: It’s not a question of the law punishing anybody. Rather, the law holds people accountable for their stupid conduct, ensuring they will be less stupid tomorrow.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver, have it investigated by a qualified personal injury attorney in Alaska. Alaska has many qualified personal injury attorneys. Google for them – and read reviews. Call the Alaska Bar Association’s free lawyer referral service: 800-770-9999. Talk to your friends. If you want our help, just call: 800-452-3741 / (907) 452-5400. We’ll listen to your situation – explain the law – and help you understand your options… at no charge. For further information visit www.Merdes.com.
Remember, And while we hope you never need us … we’re here if you do.