Something to Think of This Holiday Season: Hands-Free Just as Risky

GearDiary Something to Think of This Holiday Season: Hands-Free Just as Risky

New research suggests that even hands-free phone use while driving is a significant risk. A recent study by the NTSB says that your brain becomes heavily engaged in that function at the expense of attention paid to driving. The NTSB study shows that regardless of the source of distraction, the result is the same.

From a report on the study at the Omaha World Herald site:

The scientific evidence, however, is generally with NTSB, researchers said.

“There is a large body of evidence showing that talking on a phone, whether handheld or hands-free, impairs driving and increases your risk of having a crash,” Anne McCartt, senior vice president for research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, said.

Jim Hedlund, a safety consultant and former National Highway Traffic Safety Administration official, recently examined 300 cellphone studies for the Governors Highway Traffic Safety Administration. He couldn’t recall a single study that showed drivers talking on a headset or hands-free phone were at any less risk of an accident than drivers with one hand on the wheel and a phone in the other.

A similar analysis for the government of Sweden recently came to the same conclusion: “There is no evidence suggesting that hands-free mobile phone use is less risky than handheld use.”

So while it might seem like a great idea to catch up with friends and family while making that long drive home from the airport (which ends up being about half of the phone calls between my brother and I), and it might seem safe with the hands-free headset or speakerphone, the better idea is just not to make that call while driving.


About the Author

Michael Anderson
I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!