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Hands-Free Isn’t Always Better

Posted in Blog on June 3, 2015

Colorado driving laws allow drivers over the age of 18 to talk on their cell phones while driving. Drivers under 18 cannot, not even hands-free, unless certain emergency conditions are met. No one is allowed to text while driving. You might think that a driver talking on a cell phone isn’t hazardous, especially when using a hands-free device or placing the phone on speaker, but statistics show otherwise.

Just the Facts

The National Safety Council reports that in 2013, the number of auto accidents caused by drivers on their cell phones was 26 percent, and texting while driving accounted for 5 percent of those accidents. You might think that the other percentiles were talking on handheld devices; surprisingly, they weren’t.

Oddly, a phenomenon that has been dubbed “Voice-to-Text Driver Distraction” from a study performed by Texas A&M University of the same name, indicates that talking on a hands-free device, including dictating text messages, actually distracts drivers more than manual texting. This does not mean that you should manually text while driving, but it does bring about some serious considerations.

Arguably, if a driver is concentrating on a voice-to-text application, whether that be to direct the software to dial a phone number or dictate a text message, he or she is not concentrating on the road, despite the fact that he or she is looking directly ahead. Texas A&M’s study results confirmed that driver performance is affected, even when using hands-free methods of engaging on a cell phone, and this poses an even greater distressing scenario.

Imagine This

Imagine you are driving along and notice a driver talking alone in his car. The windows of your and his vehicle are down and you can hear that he is having a conversation with someone over the hands-free software in his vehicle. The driver of the other vehicle is involved heavily in this conversation and doesn’t see you when he moves to change lanes. He crashes into the driver’s side of your car; you are pinned and injured.

According to Colorado law, the driver who caused your injuries wasn’t technically doing anything wrong. Yes, he was talking on his cell phone, but he was talking hands-free, so his insurance company argues fault and refuses to take full responsibility of your damages. Seem like a stretch? It’s not, and tough instances such as these are often hammered out in court out of necessity.

As technology changes, so do our laws, and as these laws change, new precedence is set in court to aid in deciphering how new laws apply to the citizens of the state. The accident scenario as set forth above would complicate settlement talks, as do settlement talks surrounding cases where someone was harmed by a driver illegally talking or texting while driving her automobile.

What we thought made driving safer, hands-free technology, has proven to be the exact opposite, and accident victims are often left paying the price for this misunderstanding. Injuries sustained from an auto accident where a driver was talking or texting on his cell phone, hands-free or not, are real, and the victims must be made whole after the incident. Learn more at: www.zanerhardenlaw.com.

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