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Are hands free commands safer than texting and driving?

The risks involved with texting while driving were outlined in last week's post on the Cincinnati Car Accident Law Blog and many Ohio drivers may be familiar with the often touted statistic that drivers who take their eyes off the road for the average time it takes to send or receive a text-4.6 seconds-take their eyes off the road for the entire length of a football field at an average speed of 55 miles per hour. Many drivers may think the solution to this is to use hands free commands, now available in many mobile phone operating systems. However, according to a recent study, they would be wrong.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, after making a call or changing music in a car using hands free commands, drivers remain distracted for a whopping 27 seconds-one can cover a lot of football fields in that time span. According to the report, a driver remains distracted even after they return their hands to the wheel as their mind is still readjusting to the task of driving. In fact, results indicated that drivers missed stop signs, pedestrians and even other vehicles while they were distracted.

Though not all phone systems and cars provide an equal distraction-some vehicles and operating systems allow people to complete the task with lesser mental distraction-the truth of the fact is that none are completely risk free. And while drivers are distracted, they are more likely to end up hitting someone and causing catastrophic injuries, if not tragic deaths.

An accident involving distracted driving is one that can be almost completely avoided if drivers remain focused on the road and consider the safety of others before considering their text messages. When an Ohio resident is injured or loses a loved one in an unfortunate car accident involving distracted driving they may want to consider holding the driver accountable through a civil suit in an attempt to raise attention about the issue and prevent future similar accidents.

Source: Limaohio.com, "Car safety: Hands-free voice command not risk-free," Jerry Hirsch, Oct. 25, 2015

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