Hands-Free Devices and Car Accidents

I read an interesting news article the other day, with which I do not completely agree.  It suggested that the use of hands-free mobile devices pose just the same risks of causing car accidents and personal injuries as operating a cell phone manually.  Here is a quote from that article:

“Using voice-to-text commands on cell phones is an alternative that some believe helps reduce their risks of getting into an accident; however, as the research indicates, this is far from the truth. Whether one uses their fingers to text or the voice command, both driving distractions yield the same results, decreasing eye contact on the road.”  Read full article herehttp://www.einnews.com/pr_news/158067097/using-voice-to-text-phone-command-carries-same-danger-as-texting-while-driving.

It is well documented that distracted driving leads to car accidents.  Texting while driving, as well as manually dialing a telephone number, does divert a driver’s attention from the roadway.  The results are slower response times and less likelihood of observing dangers as they occur on the road.

Hands-free or voice-command devices were developed to address this very issue. These include Blue Tooth, ear pieces, and voice command technology. Technology has improved in these device over the years, with the goal being to maintain the driver’s attention on the road.  There is a major difference between someone using their fingers to manually input a text and using a voice-command feature.  In the first scenario, at least one of the driver’s hands is occupied with handling the phone and the driver would invariably look at the content of the text to make sure it is typed and sent properly.  This would not be the case with hands-free operations.  The driver would merely speak the commands and the device would respond accordingly.  The driver’s hands are still being used to control the vehicle and the need for the driver to look at the phone is virtually eliminated.  Likewise, the risk in operating a cell phone with a hands-free device are reduced than operating the phone manually.

There is no meaningful difference to using a hand-free device while driving, than talking to your passenger or listening to the radio.  Everything is commanded by your voice with very minimal hand use. The fact of the matter is that mobile phones are a here to stay in this day of technology.  Therefore, it would in everyone’s best interest to encourage to use of hands-free devices in order to reduce the risks of a car accident rather than suggesting that the use of hands-free devices is ineffective.

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