In early December the AAA Foundation released the results of an in-house study on cell phones and driving. An astounding two-thirds of Americans who use cell phones while driving believe it is safer to talk on a hands-free cell phone than on a hand-held device, despite scientific research showing that is simply not the case. In fact, evidence shows that using a hands-free phone while driving impairs your reaction time to critical events and increases your crash risk about the same as if you were using a hand-held phone.
Too many Americans are driving with the false sense of security that hands-free devices are somehow safer. This misconception is posing a risk to all road users, because using a cell phone while driving makes you four times as likely to be involved in a crash. Too many drivers are chatting away on their hands-free device or their Bluetooth with no knowledge of the danger and they’re putting us all at risk.
Drivers need to be aware of the dangers of distracted driving and pay full attention while they are behind the wheel. Young drivers, especially, face an array of potentially deadly challenges behind the wheel. Parents should ensure cell phone use while driving, whether hands-free or not, isn’t added to the list of distractions at this critical time for new drivers.