Statistics and studies show us time and time again that distracted driving, like driving while texting or talking on the phone increases our risk for getting into a car accident. A 2009 study by the New York Times shows that about 11% of drivers are talking on their cell phones while driving, and a Harvard study indicates that cell phone distractions account for about 20% of all injuries and 16% of all road fatalities. Many people feel these statistics are extremely underestimated because many drivers will not admit to texting or talking on the phone after an accident.
Is Hands-Free Cell Phone Use Safer?
Despite laws and bans on using cell phones while driving, this does not eliminate hands-free phone use. This indicates a belief that using hands-free phones are safer than simply talking on the phone, after all we regularly talk to the passengers in the car while we drive – but research shows talking to someone on the phone is not the same as talking to someone sitting beside you in the car.
Human brains process communications with people who aren’t physically present differently than when we talk to a person beside us. The Carnegie-Mellon Institute discovered the brain to decrease its ability to process movement and spatial relations as much as 37% when someone is talking on the phone – and both of these are important to safely driving a car.
Microsoft’s Semi-Smart Mediation Technology
Microsoft engineers are working on technology that will enable cell phones to sense the conditions of the road and cut off a conversation when there are dangers nearby. The phones will then give warning messages like “residential area, children playing” and “your focus needed”. During testing of the Semi-Smart mediation technology, drivers had 27% less car accidents and 81% fewer turning errors than a group of cell phone drivers without the technology. If this device ever makes it out of testing and into the hands of the marketplace, you can bet corporate America will become the biggest supporters- allowing employees to stay connected safely during their commuting time.
Until then? Put the cell phone on mute when you’re driving and increase your chances of arriving to your destination safely and without the need for a car accident attorney in NY.