Texting while driving leads you to take your eyes off the road, and the danger here is obvious. Most people believe that talking instead of texting or shifting to a hands-free device is enough to mitigate the risks. However, this simply is not the case. The shocking truth is that talking while driving is just as dangerous as texting; and no, using a hands-free device does not lower the risk.
The numbers reveal the truth!
- • According to the National Safety Council (NSC), nearly 25% of all car accidents in 2014 were attributed to cell phone usage.
- • Only 5% of these mishaps involved texting.
- • Annually, over 1.5 million crashes occur because of cell phone use while driving.
- • A more recent study conducted by Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT) revealed that more than half of all auto accidents can be linked to cell phone distraction.
- • In nearly 30% of these crashes, cell phone distractions happen when motorists are going above 56 mph.
In Kansas, 1 in 4 accidents can be linked to general inattentiveness. Statistics from KDOT implicated cell phone usage in just 1.2% of the crashes. But according to experts and the NSC, such figures are usually inaccurate because the majority of motorists involved in accidents don’t admit to using their cell phones.
Isn’t it just texting that poses the threat?
No! Talking on the phone when driving, whether the device used is handheld or hands-free is just as dangerous. However, the misconception that only texting leads to trouble, has led to a false sense of security and is possibly to be blamed for the increase in the number of cell phone-related road mishaps. Here are a few facts and figures that prove just that:
- In the statistics above, we know that only 5% of the accidents involved texting when driving. Let’s assume that another 5% are attributed to other forms of cell phone usage (music, GPS, etc…). This still leaves us with the other 15% of accidents that in all likelihood involved talking on the phone.
- The NSC study also revealed that in most accidents involving cell phone use, the distraction that the device caused was for more than 2.3 minutes. The logical conclusion here is that the longer the duration of distraction, the greater the chance of an accident. Since people are likely to spend more time on a call than on a text message, it is easy to assume that talking greatly raises the risk of getting into a mishap.
If your hands are free, of course you are safe, right?
Not at all! This is another flawed assumption that contributes to the rising number of accidents on American roads. When driving, your attention matters as much as the use of both hands. This is supported in the figures in the NSC study. In states, where it is illegal to use a handheld phone when driving, the average device distraction time was found to be 3.17 minutes. States that don’t have laws against the use of handheld devices have average distraction time of 3.82 minutes. In both cases, the distraction time is well above 3 minutes, making the roads extremely dangerous for motorists.
Science proves that talking while driving is no less distracting!
A cognitive study to evaluate and compare the mental workload of talking and texting on the phone clarified this conclusion even further. The NSC reported the mental workload rating of using a cell phone in various ways while driving. Here are the figures:
- • Talking on a handheld device: 2.45
- • Talking on a hands-free device: 2.27
- • Speech to texting applications: 3.06
As you can see, there isn’t a lot of difference in the level of distraction caused when talking on a handheld versus a hands-free device.
A report published in the Journal of Safety Research in 2009 was perhaps the first to shed light on the dangers of using hands-free phones while driving. It clearly stated that driving performance suffers just as much from the use of hands-free devices as it does through the use of handheld phones. In more recent years, the “Voice to Text Distraction Study” conducted by the Texas A&M Research Institute also led to this very conclusion.
Given this research, it is not just texting that you should be wary of. Any form of cell phone usage when driving is dangerous. If you want to be safe, switch off your phone or put it in the airplane mode while you are behind the wheel. The call or text can wait.
If you or a loved one has been in an accident caused by a distracted driver and you have suffered personal injury, it is your right to claim compensation for the recklessness of the other motorist.
Contact DeVaughn James Injury Lawyers and our team of experienced attorneys will seek the full compensation you deserve for your medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.