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Traffic Safety: Hands-Free Is Not Risk-Free


Distracted Driving Laws

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, texting while driving is banned in 48 states, Washington, D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and Puerto Rico. Handheld cell phone use is banned in 21 states, Washington, D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and Puerto Rico. New anti-distraction laws are being passed frequently, so these restrictions may increase in the coming years.

In Hawaii, it is illegal to use a handheld electronic device while driving. This means it is illegal to text and drive. It’s also illegal to use cell phones, mp3 players and other handheld electronic devices while driving.

The Danger of Distracted Driving                                                                                 

When a vehicle is used irresponsibly, it becomes a weapon. According to the NHTSA, distracted driving killed 2,841 people in 2018. This includes 1,730 drivers as well as 605 passengers, 400 pedestrians and 77 bicyclists. An additional 400,000 people were injured in distracted driving crashes.

When you drive distracted, you’re not just putting your own life in danger. You’re also risking the lives of everyone around you.

Distracted Driving Defined

According to the CDC, there are three types of distractions:

  • Visual distractions take your eyes off the road.
  • Manual distractions take your hands off the wheel.
  • Cognitive distractions take your mind off driving.

Texting and other uses of handheld devices can check off all three types of distraction at once. This is why many states have passed laws that ban texting while driving or the use of handheld devices. However, other activities can also become dangerous distractions, even if they’re hands-free.

Talking to someone using a handsfree device can create a cognitive distraction. According to Science Daily, research found that talking on the phone using a hands-free device is more distracting than talking to passengers. This may be because passengers typically react to traffic by pausing the conversation when road conditions worsen.

However, passengers can also become dangerous distractions, especially when they are overly rowdy. Other things, like food and beverages, can also act as dangerous distractions.

Stay Safe on the Road

According to the National Safety Council, hands-free is not risk-free.

When you’re driving, you need to give the road your full attention. This is true even if you’re driving at a slow speed in perfect conditions. You never know when your tire will blow or a kid will run out in front of your car, so you always need to be alert.

  • Obey your state’s distracted driving laws.
  • Never text while driving.
  • Never take pictures, play games, or use email, messaging apps or social media while driving.
  • Avoid using hands-free devices while driving, even if they are permitted by law.
  • Avoid other distractions, such as eating and drinking, while driving.
  • Set up your music and navigation system before you start driving.
  • Be a good passenger. Don’t distract the driver. If the driver is texting or otherwise distracted, speak up about the danger. Refuse to ride with distracted drivers.  

FICOH is here to help you be safe on the road. Get a personal auto insurance quote online!

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