New study reveals hands-free not that safe
MATTHEW ALCOCK, CONTRIBUTOR
Hands-free doesn’t necessarily mean risk free.
A study done at the University of Utah showed using hands-free devices while driving can be just as distracting as texting behind the wheel.
“The number one cause of accidents is now due to not driving to the conditions of the road. However, distracted driving is still number two,” said Graeme Brown, adjustor at MPI.
The studies, which were done for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, claim even when using hands-free devices it takes an average 27 seconds while driving at 40 kilometres an hour to regain full attention.
Brown recognises there is validity to this claim, but said he still believes the devices are a much better alternative to texting.
“The amount of claims I get for accidents involving hands-free driving is next to nothing. I still get a lot of claims when talking on the phone or texting was the issue,” said Brown.
Cameron MacAngus, a business administration student at RRC, said he uses hands-free devices when available, but understands the difficulty of trying resist using your phone.
Even though you can do almost everything on your dashboard you can do on your phone,
MacAngus said it’s not as personal as holding the device. And that causes the problem.
“You can’t hold your dashboard,” said MacAngus. “People have a connection with their phones. It’s almost instinctive to just grab it when you’re bored. They [young people] aren’t going to stop until your car can do everything your phone can. And at that point, it wouldn’t be much safer anyways.”
It seems most young people aren’t bothering with hands-free devices to begin with.
A quick poll of students was conducted at RRC’s Exchange District campus, and out of 84 students, 76 said they’ve never used a hands-free device in their car. Out of those 76, nearly all them said they were guilty of texting and driving, and when they need to actually make a phone call they simply use the speakerphone option on their mobile device.
Out of the eight that do use the hands-free devices, six said they use it very rarely.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, car manufacturers are always looking to improve technology in their vehicles, and with more people wanting to stay connected it’s a priority.
The consequence of using a handheld device while driving became harsher in July, giving offenders five demerit points as well as the $200 ticket.