Why Hands-Free Cell Phones Are Not Safer: Safety Council

April 15, 2014

A National Safety Council public opinion poll indicates that 80 percent of drivers across the country believe that hands-free devices are safer than using a handheld phone despite evidence this is nit true.

More than 30 studies show hands-free devices are no safer than handheld as the brain remains distracted by the cell phone conversation, according to the safety group. Of the poll participants who admitted to using hands-free devices, 70 percent said they do so for safety reasons.

“While many drivers honestly believe they are making the safe choice by using a hands-free device, it’s just not true,” said David Teater, senior director of Transportation Initiatives at the National Safety 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.”

Currently, no state or municipality has passed a law banning hands-free use, but 12 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws banning handheld cell phone use while driving.

Also, more vehicles are now equipped with dashboard infotainment systems that allow drivers to make hands-free calls as well as send text messages, email and update social media statuses. The NSC poll found that 53 percent of respondents believe hands-free devices must be safe to use if they are built into vehicles.

To debunk the hands-free myth, the NSC has selected ‘Hands-free is not risk-free’ for its April Distracted Driving Awareness Month campaign.

The National Safety Council (nsc.org) is a nonprofit organization that partners with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public on distracted driving, teen driving, workplace safety, prescription drug and safer communities initiatives.


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Latest Comments

  • April 21, 2014 at 10:35 am
    Whitewater says:
    The physical presence of a passenger in the vehicle and engaging in conversation poses the same threat to driving attention as a hands-free phone conversation. The key focus ... read more
  • April 16, 2014 at 4:02 pm
    Agent says:
    Texting is the biggest problem we have with these devices. These cell addicts are like Alchoholics. They say they can handle it and they can't.
  • April 16, 2014 at 4:00 pm
    Agent says:
    Women seem to have to look at each other to talk and they do it in the car as well. I don't let my wife drive us at all anymore. She scares me to death.
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