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Is it Safe to Use a Hands-free Device to Talk on a Cellphone While Driving?

While using a hands-free device is a little less distracting than texting, it does still take focus off the road, meaning it could lead to accidents or injuries.

It’s obvious to most people that texting and driving can be a lethal mistake. So, instead, some opt to use a hands-free device for talking on the phone while driving. While using a hands-free device to talk on a cellphone is a better option than texting and driving, it’s still not safe.

Many people think distracted driving means texting and driving, but texting and driving makes up only one part of distracted driving. Other types of distracted driving include playing with the radio, eating and drinking while driving, talking to passengers, and, yes, talking on a cellphone. This means if you are talking on the phone while driving—even with a hands-free device—you are still putting yourself and others at risk.

person driving with cellphone bluetooth

Why Is Talking on the Phone While Driving Dangerous?

Did you know that as much as 94% of accidents are caused by driver error, as opposed to poor weather conditions or other factors? Thousands of people have died in crashes where cellphones were involved, and that statistic includes hands-free devices.1

Part of the reason talking on a cellphone while driving is so dangerous is because our brains are physically incapable of giving 100% of our attention to more than one task. This means when you are driving and talking on the phone, you are splitting your attention between at least two activities—driving and talking. If you add screaming kids, the GPS, and/or eating a meal to the equation, you continue to divide your attention between even more activities, making it increasingly difficult to focus on driving.

What Qualifies as a Hands-Free Device?

A hands-free talking device can come in many forms:

  • Speaker Phone
  • Personal Phone Assistants
  • Headphones
  • Earpieces
  • Dashboard Phone Systems

Any of these methods of talking on the phone while driving is considered dangerous and could result in an accident.

Making an effort to not talk on the phone while you’re driving can help you stay aware of other potential hazards and issues in the car. Check out our Car Safety Guide to learn more about staying safe on the road.

  1. National Safety Council, “Hands-Free Is Not Risk-Free