The dangers of using hands free technology in MA

Although it is illegal to text and drive in Massachusetts, it is legal to talk on a cellphone; however, this has been found to be dangerous as well.

With an abundance of credible studies showing the potential dangers of using a cellphone while driving, more and more states are taking action by enacting laws prohibiting drivers from engaging in the deadly practice. Massachusetts is just one of 44 states across the nation that has enacted legislation banning drivers from texting while behind the wheel, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Only 14 states prohibit drivers from talking on hand-held cellphones and no states currently ban the use of hands free cellular devices. Yet significant research shows that talking on hand-held and hands free cellular devices can be extremely distracting, and in some cases, can cause devastating car crashes.

A closer look at cognitive distraction

Cognitive distraction occurs when drivers engage in activities that take their mental focus off of driving, according to distraction.gov. While a driver's hands may be on the steering wheel and his or her eyes are looking straight ahead, the driver's mind may be lost in a conversation with someone on the phone. Although this may seem harmless, studies reviewed by the National Safety Council show that cognitive distractions can cause inattention blindness, a phenomenon where drivers fail to process up to half of the information in their driving environment.

Inattention blindness is a direct result of the human brain's inability to multitask. While people may think they have perfected the art of driving enough to talk on the phone while operating a vehicle, the brain is physiologically unable to complete two complex tasks at the same time. Instead, it simply switches back and forth between the two tasks, leaving brief moments where the brain is not focused on driving at all.

Cognitive distraction and hands free technology

Since texting and driving is illegal in many states including Massachusetts, more and more drivers are switching to advanced hands free technology. While the design allows drivers to check their email and use their phone with minimal visual or manual distraction, a study released by AAA shows that hands free and voice-activated technology can cause significant driver distraction as well. The study found that flaws in voice-activated technology cause drivers to experience a decreased reaction time. Some distracted drivers involved in the study failed to notice key visual cues, such as stop signs.

Possible solutions

As hard as it may be, drivers are encouraged to relinquish all use of their cellphones while they are driving. Whether people silence their cellphones or turn them off altogether, avoiding cellphone use just may save a life.

A negligent driver can cause massive destruction. Their choice to engage in distractive activities can cause serious car accidents, catastrophic injuries and even death. If you have been victimized by a distracted driver, you should contact an attorney who can help you look at your legal options. You may have excessive medical bills and property damage as a result of a distracted driving car accident. A personal injury attorney will fight for fair compensation in your case.

Keywords: distracted, driving, injury