News outlets and entertainment media alike continue to remind people about the hazards of becoming distracted while driving. Even with this attention, distracted driving seems to be a problem that simply will not go away. Even with safer options and legal consequences, drivers continue to be distracted.
Since cellphones became mainstays decades ago, drivers almost immediately began making phone calls from behind the wheel. In recent years, many states have attempted to limit cell phone use to maintain safer roads. Whether texting has been outlawed or conversations can only be completed using hands-free technology, drivers remain distracted.
Unfortunately, the problem lies in the way the brain handles multiple stimuli. People like to pride themselves on being able to multi-task, but numerous psychological studies prove this isn’t the case. Humans do not perform tasks simultaneously. The brain constantly switches focus between tasks until one is completed. Switching focus from safely operating a motor vehicle can lead to deadly collisions.
While performing a call using a hands-free device is likely safer than sending a text or applying make-up, drivers are still required to pull their attention from the road. Whether it is the physical act of dialing the phone, adjusting the fit of their earpiece or adjusting the call volume, drivers are not paying full attention to what’s going on around them.
The National Safety Council notes that more than 30 studies have provided data focusing on the perceived safety of hands-free over handheld phone calls. They have adopted the phrase “Hands-free is not risk-free.” Unfortunately, drivers continue to be confused about what they should and should not do. If you were injured, do not hesitate to seek help.