Massachusetts residents rely on hands-free technology to keep them safe on the road. But studies show conflicting information. Some state that hands-free technology helps cut down on the chances of crashing. Others state that hands-free technology does very little to help mitigate these risks.
The National Safety Council itself states that hands-free is not risk-free. In other words, it is not safe to drive with hands-free technology. It may lower the risk compared to drivers who use electronics without this tech. But compared to distraction-free drivers, hands-free tech drivers are still at higher risk.
This is because hands-free technology only addresses two dangers of distracted driving. The three dangers are:
- Taking your hands off the wheel
- Taking your eyes off the road
- Cognitive distractions that take your mind from driving
It is true that hands-free technology addresses the first two concerns. You are able to work your device with voice controls, leaving your hands free. In theory, you do not have to look at your screen, either. Even if you are using GPS for directions, there are options to have those directions read aloud.
But cognitive distractions are unavoidable. If you use a device in any way while driving, this is an automatic cognitive distraction. Cognitive distractions may be the most potent form of distraction as well. Drivers with cognitive distractions are up to 4 times more likely to crash. Drivers who are not distracted do not face this elevated risk. Also, this elevated risk lasts up to five minutes past the end of the conversation. This shows the impact cognitive distractions truly has.