Most states now have laws prohibiting using hand-held cell phones or other electronic communication devices while driving. In California, all cell phone and mobile communication device use is prohibited while driving unless a proper hands-free system is in place; drivers 18 years of age or younger are not allowed any use of cell phones while driving. The point is to prevent accidents but do hands-free devices really stop distracted driving?
Hands-free devices in vehicles are allowed in California with certain restrictions. The cell phone or device must be mounted on the dashboard or windshield to make it easily visible without blocking the view of the road. The device must allow be able to respond with only a single tap or swipe. Minor drivers are not allowed to use hands-free communication at all. The goal is to prevent accidents but there is evidence that even with their hands on the wheel, people using hands-free devices may still be distracted.
Accidents Caused by Drivers Using Hands-Free Devices
While it could be argued that using hands-free devices reduce the number of distracted driving accidents, it does not prevent them. Distracted driving occurs when anything takes the driver’s focus from the road. Studies have shown that the brain is limited with the amount of focus it can give to each task when multi-tasking. If your eyes are on the road but your brain is also having a texting or verbal conversation through a hands-free device, you are more likely to make a driving error.
Hands-free devices may cause fewer accidents than drivers who text or use a hand-held device while driving, but they do not prevent all accidents. Many cell phones still need to be tapped or swiped, removing attention and at least on hand from the task of driving. When a driver is distracted by their cell phone and rear-ends the car in front of them or hits a pedestrian, it could be considered negligent driving, even if they were following the law.
Did you lose a loved one in a distracted driving accident or were you injured due to a driver using a hands-free device? Contact our experienced legal team at Maison Law to discuss your case. You may be eligible to seek compensation for your loss or injuries due to driver negligence. Call our office in Bakersfield, Visalia, Fresno or Merced to schedule a free consultation.