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Reports say hands-free technology not safer than handheld devices

According to a public opinion poll, many believe that hands-free technology in vehicles is safer to use while driving than handheld cellphones. However, North Carolina resident may not know that several studies show that this is not the case.

The National Safety Council took a public poll that revealed that 80 percent of drivers in the United States believe it is safer to use hands-free technology than handheld devices. Moreover, 70 percent of the drivers who take advantage of hands-free technology say that they use it for safety purposes. The poll also found that 53 percent of drivers believe that hands-free technology is safe because many vehicles have the features built in.

The built-in hands-free technology allows consumers to talk, text, email and update social media pages while they are on the road. However, more than 30 research studies reveal that using this technology is no safer than using handheld devices. The NSC says that this is because people's brains are still distracted by the conversation.

A senior director from the council's Transportation Initiatives explains that the brain cannot accurately multi-task. He believes that consumers have become confused with state laws that ban handheld cellphone use and automakers equipping vehicles with hands-free technology. To set the record straight, the NSC is launching a "Hands-free is not risk-free" campaign for Distracted Driving Awareness Month throughout April.

Even if a person is not using a handheld cellphone, police could determine that the individual caused a car accident while they were distracted with hands-free technology. An injured victim may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury claim filed against a distracted driver. If a person dies in the car accident, the family could be entitled to damages through a wrongful death claim.

Source: Insurance Journal, "Why Hands-Free Cell Phones Are Not Safer: Safety Council", April 15, 2014

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