Hands-free Devices Unsafe

Hand freeNow that cellphone bans while driving have spread across the country, carmakers and cell-phone providers are cashing in on hands-free technology.

But a growing body of research says that talking “hands-free” is not solving the problem of distracted driving on our roads.

“It’s not that your hands aren’t on the wheel, it’s that your mind is not on the road,” says David Strayer, a leading researcher from the University of Utah’s Applied Cognition Laboratory.

In a recent Canadian study, researchers from the University of Alberta found that talking on a hands-free device increases the quantity and severity of driver error.

Twenty-six participants were put in two simulated driving scenarios. They were first put in a controlled scenario and asked to focus solely on driving for 4 minutes. In the second scenario, participants were asked to drive while talking on a hands-free device for 2 minutes.

When talking on a hands-free device, drivers started crossing centre lines, running stop signs, and getting into accidents.

Researchers discovered that there was a significant increase in brain activity while talking on a hands-free device. Blood flow to the brain “is significantly increased during hands-free telecommunication in order to meet the oxygen demands of the neurons under the ‘distracted’ condition,” notes lead researcher Professor Bhambhani.

Avoid spiking your heart rate and blood flow to the brain. Keep your mind on the road and not on your hands-free device.

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David McCormick
David McCormick
David joined Slater Vecchio in May 2013. He began his legal career as a criminal prosecutor where he was involved in cases involving dangerous driving, driving without due care and attention, impaired driving, and more.