Hands free devices can still be distractive to CA motorists

Although hands free cellphones are legal to use in California, they are still a dangerous form of cognitive distraction.

There's no question that motorists who use cellphones while driving are not only putting their own lives in danger, but they are risking the lives of everyone else on the road. National statistics from Distraction.gov state that 3,154 people lost their lives in distracted driving accidents in 2013, while an additional 424,000 people were injured. In an attempt to reduce the number of car accidents, injuries and deaths caused by distracted drivers in California, officials enacted legislation banning the use of handheld cellphones while driving.

Although it is illegal for drivers to text or talk on handheld cellphones in the state, motorists are permitted to use hands free cellular devices. Many drivers use these cellphones because it allows them to conduct their business while staying in compliance with the law. Yet many people are unaware of the inherent dangers that accompany these seemingly harmless hands free devices.

Cognitive distraction and increased accident risk

Hands free cellphones eliminate visual and manual distractions by allowing motorists to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the steering wheel. However, these devices are still a major cause of cognitive distraction, which occurs when a driver's concentration is taken off of the road. According to the National Safety Council, the human brain is unable to process two complex tasks, such as maintaining a conversation and driving, at the same time. While drivers may think that they are successfully multi-tasking, they are actually at an increased risk of becoming involved in a motor vehicle accident.

Studies show motorists who are cognitively distracted are unable to see up to 50 percent of the visual information in their driving environment. Furthermore, distracted motorists have a delayed response time when faced with certain driving hazards, such as pedestrian crosswalks, traffic signals, bad weather conditions, reckless drivers and objects in the road.

Dealing with the aftermath of an auto collision

Drivers may think that it is safe to talk on a hands free device while sharing the road with other vehicles. Yet, the only way to avoid distracted driving caused by cellphone use is for drivers to put down their cellphones while behind the wheel. People injured in distracted driving accidents may suffer from catastrophic injuries, including brain injuries, spinal cord damage and broken bones.

If you have been involved in a car accident caused by a distracted driver or some other type of driver negligence, you may want to speak with an attorney in California. You may have legal options that you are not aware of. A lawyer may help to ensure that you get the compensation that you are entitled to.