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Hands-Free Cellphone Use Still Dangerous for California Drivers

Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook

Cellphone use contributes to many distracted driving car accidents in California. While many drivers are aware of the dangers of using a cellphone while behind the wheel, they still practice this unsafe driving behavior and are putting themselves at a higher risk of being in a car accident.

Using a cellphone while driving is very dangerous but there are a few myths about distracted driving that make many drivers believe it is safe to use certain cellphone devices behind the wheel. One of the biggest myths is that using a hands-free cellphone device is safer than a handheld cellphone. However, many studies have shown that any cellphone use is dangerous behind the wheel.

The National Safety Council reported that drivers who use a handheld or hands-free cellphone while driving are four times more likely to be in a car accident. They also said that drivers who use cellphones are involved in roughly 21 percent of all car crashes in the U.S. every year.

The NSC reports that talking on a cellphone while driving increases the risk of being in a car accident because it requires the driver to multitask between two cognitive activities in the brain. Because driving and talking are both thinking tasks, a driver's brain has to switch between the two cognitive activities, putting them at risk behind the wheel because they are not able to focus on the road 100 percent of the time.

Studies have found that using a cellphone while driving distracts the driver's brain, and can affect the way a driver processes visual movements while driving. In fact, studies found that a driver's ability to process movement decreases by 37 percent when they are listening to language, such as talking or listening on a cellphone.

This is why using a cellphone behind the wheel is so dangerous and can lead to devastating car accidents in the U.S.

Source: EHS Today, "Infographic: Four Distracted Driving Myths," Laura Walter, May 24, 2013