Do Hands Free Phones Prevent Distracted Driving?
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently issued safety recommendations to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). It said that current bans on using hand-held phones for truck drivers do not go far enough. In fact, it suggested truckers should not be allowed to use hands-free phones while driving, because simply talking on the phone is a distraction.
According to Truckinginfo.com, Christopher Hart, NTSB’s Acting Board Chairman said, “Current laws may mislead people to believe that hands-free is as safe as not using a phone at all.” However, Hart explains that previous NTSB investigations have proven this false.
Why Are Hands Free Phones a Distraction for Drivers?
David Teater of the National Safety Council (NSC) offered this interesting fact: 70 percent of crashes are caused by human error; he believes that number is even higher. Distracted driving is a major contributor to this statistic.
There are three types of distractions:
- Visual (not keeping our eyes on the road)
- Mechanical (taking our hands off the wheel)
- Cognitive (our mind is focused on something other than driving)
Handheld phones are not only a mechanical distraction (having to hold the phone to your ear while driving), but they are also a cognitive distraction.
That is the problem with the hands free phones. Although they eliminate the mechanical distraction, there is still the cognitive distraction. Additionally, studies have shown that when talking and driving, drivers tend to focus more on talking than they do driving.