If you’re taking calls while driving, even on a hands-free device, the National Safety Council wants you to know that you’re taking a risk, despite what the majority of people believe.
Eighty percent of drivers nationwide say they believe that hands-free devices are safer than handheld phones while driving, according to new findings from the National Safety Council. Of those who use hands-free devices, 70 percent say they do so for safety reasons. But the Council says that more than 30 studies show that hands-free devices are no more safe than handheld phones because you still remain distracted.
The Council is seeking to debunk the hands-free myth by launching a “hands-free is not risk-free” campaign, which coincides with Distracted Driving Awareness Month this April.
The Ventura County Coastal Association of Realtors Young Professionals Network has also launched its own campaign to curb the common practice of texting and driving in the real estate industry.
Twelve states and the District of Columbia have passed laws banning the use of handheld cell phones while driving. However, no state or municipality has yet to pass a law banning the use of hands-free devices while driving.
More vehicles are offering dashboard systems that allow drivers to make hands-free calls, as well as send text messages and emails. Fifty-three percent of respondents surveyed by the Council say hands-free devices must be safe if they are built into vehicles.
“While many drivers honestly believe they are making the safe choice by using a hands-free device, it’s just not true,” says David Teater, senior director of transportation at the Council.
“The problem is, the brain does not truly multi-task. Just like you can’t read a book and talk on the phone, you can’t safely operate a vehicle and talk on the phone. With some state laws focusing on handheld bans and carmakers putting hands-free technology in vehicles, no wonder people are confused.”