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National Safety Council: Hands-free phones do not make driving safer

Published April 28, 2014

Contrary to popular belief, the use of hands-free cellphones while behind the wheel is not a safe alternative to the use of handheld phones, according to the National Safety Council (NSC).

Indeed, a recent analysis of 30 separate studies, which was conducted by NSC experts, found that hands-free cellphones can be a significant distraction for drivers, and thus extremely dangerous to use while operating a motor vehicle.

Interestingly, despite the evidence that hands-free cellphones may be hazardous, the public at large still consider their use to be relatively harmless. In fact, the NSC also discovered that 80 percent of U.S. motorists think that hands-free phones are safer that their handheld counterparts.

Researchers found several possible reasons for this dangerous belief, including the fact that 53 percent of those surveyed believe that hands-free devices installed in vehicles are safe because the manufacturers put them in. In addition, David Teator, a senior director of transportation initiatives at the NSC, recently pointed out in a press release, “With some state laws focusing on hand-held bans and carmakers putting hands-free technology in vehicles, no wonder people are confused.”

Cellphone laws in North Carolina

Sadly, North Carolina is one of the states in which the use of hands-free cellphones is permitted while behind the wheel. In fact, adult drivers can talk on both hands-free and handheld cellphones while driving in North Carolina. Unfortunately, the only drivers in North Carolina not allowed to use cellphones are those under the age of 18 and those operating a school bus.

And, while North Carolina law does prohibit texting while driving, there is an expressed exception to this ban for drivers using “voice operated technology” – meaning hands-free texting is still permitted under state law.

Legal assistance may be necessary

However, it is important to note that just because a particular action is not illegal under state law, it does not mean a driver cannot be held responsible when his or her engagement in such activity causes injury to another. For instance, if a North Carolina driver causes a car accident due to his or her negligent cellphone use, he or she may be liable for any resulting damages to those involved in the accident. These damages may include medical expenses, lost wages as well as possible pain and suffering.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver, it is often best to seek the counsel of an experienced car accident injury attorney. A skilled attorney can explain your rights and options as well as help investigate the circumstances of the accident.