Driving while talking on a cell phone is extremely dangerous. Hand-free kits and Bluetooth devices were created largely for this very reason. To allow people to speak on the phone but still concentrate on other things.
Unfortunately, when it comes to driving, even hands-free cell use can’t eliminate the dangers of being distracted while driving.
Is hands-free cell use safer?
The idea behind a hands-free kit is to keep the driver’s hands on the wheel at all times and, in this way, it does succeed. But the danger of using a cell phone while driving doesn’t only come from having your hands occupied.
Having a cell phone conversation is still a distraction because it takes your mental focus away from driving, much like daydreaming. If you’re concentrating on answering questions or having a conversation, then you’re not paying enough attention to the road.
Some studies even found that drivers talking on a cell phone using a hands-free device were more likely to drive faster due to the false sense of security the hand-free system gave them. The assumption being that using a hands-free kit is just as safe as not making a call in the first place.
Conversations with passengers
If just having a conversation is dangerous, then what about talking to your passengers? Studies have shown that, while the conversation itself can be distracting, having an extra pair of eyes to see potential threats mitigates the danger.
Your passengers can help you spot any potential dangers and also know to stop talking to you if you seem distracted by something happening on the road. In test conditions, conversations between the driver and passenger tended to be about the road conditions and what other drivers were doing a lot of the time.
In comparison, a person on the other end of a phone call is oblivious to your conditions, so they won’t stop talking even if you encounter difficult road conditions. They also can’t help you spot any potential dangers.
Why is it so dangerous?
Because cars can travel at such high speeds, you have very little time to react in the event of an accident. Collisions happen in split seconds and any moments that you’re distracted by a cell phone conversation can have disastrous consequences.
94% of all crash crashes are caused by driver error and a large percentage of these are due to distractions. Distractions can be caused in a number of ways such as adjusting the radio, texting and talking on a cell phone.
Minimising the risk
Many cars have integrated Bluetooth connectivity in them, meaning you can connect your cell phone and make calls on the go. But just because it’s legal, doesn’t mean it’s automatically safe. If you need to make a call, pull over in a safe spot or do it before you start driving. There is no safe way to make a call while you’re driving.
Claiming for an accident caused by cell use
Talking on a cell phone while driving without a hands-free kit is illegal in South Africa. If you are involved in an accident that was caused by the other driving using their cell phone – whether they were making a call, looking at social media or texting – you could have grounds for a legal claim.
At DSC Attorneys, we specialise in road accident claims. Our personal injury attorneys and medico-legal team can assess your claim, help prepare supporting evidence and represent you in legal proceedings, giving you the best chance of receiving the compensation you deserve.
Contact us online or call 0861 465 879 for the very best legal support and representation. Note that we work on a no win, no fee basis.