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Are hands-free cellphones safe for drivers?

As a Louisiana motorist, you may be guilty of driving while talking or texting on a hand-held cellphone. This dangerous task has killed and seriously injured many people across the nation. As a result, some states prohibit drivers from using hand-held cellphones while behind the wheel. Hands-free cellphones are not banned, however, which leads people to believe they are safe to use while driving. Studies show that they are not safe, and are in fact almost as dangerous as hand-held cellphones.

Researchers looked at the amount of cognitive distraction different tasks caused motorists in an attempt to measure which activities were most distracting, in a study published by AAA. Drivers were asked to complete several tasks, including talking on a hand-held cellphone, using a hands-free cellphone, talking to a passenger in the vehicle, listening to the radio, composing an email using voice-activated technology and listening to an audio book. Once drivers’ response time, heart rate and brain activity results were calculated, researchers found that talking on a hands-free device is only slightly less distracting that using a hand-held device.

According to the National Safety Council, cognitive distraction occurs when the driver’s focus is taken off of driving and placed on completing another activity. Instead of concentrating on two tasks simultaneously, the brain switches from one task to the other. At some point, the driver’s mind is not focused on driving at all. Researchers agree that all drivers can minimize distraction by avoiding the use of any type of cellphone while behind the wheel.

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