Distracted Driving: Hands-Free Texting Is Just As Dangerous As Typing, Study Shows
Some might say that it is impossible to stay concentrated on driving at all times. There is always something that distracts you to a certain degree. A stunning woman in a mini-dress crossing the road. A car accident that you pass by. But more often, a notification on your phone.
More than 92 percent of all Americans own a cell phone, and in today’s world, it would be rather difficult to imagine our lives without texting and social media messaging. In fact, many Americans are addicted to their smartphones and social media, which is why checking every notification on their phone is like taking a drug.
But when it happens when you are driving, it can be fatal. Getting distracted while driving has been around for years, and experts argue that the problem is becoming worse every year. Millions of motorists in Texas and all across the United States believe that hands-free texting is a much safer alternative to the regular texting. But how true is that?
Typing vs. voice texting: is hands-free texting safe?
“It may seem harmless to read a text or check a notification on your phone while driving, but in reality, it could cost you your life or cost the lives of others,” warns our Dallas car accident attorney from the Law Offices Of Dorothy Hyde.
Regardless of how confident you are in your ability to react in time, do fight the temptation to take your phone and unlock it once you hear a notification sound while driving (in fact, unlocking your smartphone by itself can become a major distraction).
Even though most cities in Texas ban all forms of cell phone use that is not hands-free while driving, is it actually safe to resort to hands-free texting while operating a vehicle? In short, it is not.
Hands-free texting is just as unsafe, study shows
I know what you are thinking, “Wait, what? I have read multiple studies indicating that hands-free use of mobile phones is completely safe for driving!” But this is not what this recent study by Texas A&M Transportation Institute has found.
According to the study in question, there is no discernable difference in reaction time for people who “text” by talking to their phone and those who text by actually typing their messages.
While Texas law bans the traditional method of texting while driving (typing), it makes it lawful to send texts as long as it is hands-free. But both methods are shown to be equally unsafe and dangerous, according to the study. Researchers have found that the distraction is mental.
The study found that drivers who are both texting by voice and typing took twice as long to react to changing driving conditions compared to those who were not distracted by their mobile phone at all. The study has shown that the mental distraction of concentrating on what was said in the received text is identical in both methods of texting.
Similarly, thinking about how you are going to reply to the text affects your ability to react to changing driving conditions just as badly. Failure to concentrate on your task at hand – driving – is the actual cause of distracted driving, and it makes absolutely no difference if you are texting by voice or typing.
What does Texas law say about hands-free texting?
And if you truly think about it – if you tried both methods of texting while driving (we sincerely hope you didn’t!) – it makes sense why the study has found no difference between the two methods. In other words, when a motorist fails to give driving his or her full attention, accidents do happen.
Hopefully, Texas laws will catch up with the studies and ban hands-free texting while driving sooner rather than later. For now, injured motorists and pedestrians have to fight for their right to win compensation by proving that the other party was distracted by their phone while driving. Consult with our Dallas car accident attorney from the Law Office of Dorothy Hyde to speak about your particular case.
It may be possible to establish that the driver was “distracted” even if he or she resorted to the hands-free method of texting prior to the accident. Get a free consultation by calling at 214-883-1700 or fill out this contact form today.