Posted On: July 16, 2009 by Steven J. Malman

Preventing Chicago Car Crashes: NSC Study Concludes that Talking on a Hands-Free Cell Phone While Driving is Just as Dangerous as Using a Hand-Held Cell Phone

According to a new study published in the National Safety Council’s Journal of Safety Research, using a hands-free cell phone while driving is as much a safety risk as it is to talk on a hand-held cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. This is not the first study to support the idea that use of either kind of cell phone is equally dangerous and can lead to driver errors, traffic accidents, affect a motorist’s reaction time, and cause a driver to operate a vehicle at a slower speed—the latter is especially true for motorists using hand-held cell phones. Researchers say that slowing down could be a driver's way to compensate for the cell phone use.

The findings from this study are especially important for motorists in Chicago to know about. While there is no statewide law regarding cell phone use, each Illinois locality is allowed to decide what cell phone law to enact. In Chicago, there is a ban on hand-held cell phones. Yet, per the study, hands-free cell phone users are just as likely as their hand-held cell phone user counterparts to becoming involved in a Chicago car accident.

A study featured last summer in the journal Experimental Psychology explains why it isn’t safe to talk on any kind of cell phone while driving. Dr. Amit Almor, the University of South Carolina psychology researcher that conducted the study, says that planning to talk and actually talking to someone put more demands on the brain than it does to listen to someone speak.

He says experiment subjects were four times more likely to be distracted when they were preparing to speak and when they actually talked. He also noted that study participants were better at performing visual tasks when they were listening to someone else talk. It was also easier for participants to perform assigned visual tasks when they were listening to a voice that was in front of them rather than a voice coming from somewhere else.

Unfortunately, it is no longer unusual for a driver to cause a motor vehicle crash because he or she was talking on a cell phone or text messaging while driving. All of these behaviors are forms of distracted driving and can be grounds for a Chicago car accident lawsuit if someone gets hurts or dies.

If you do need to use a cell phone and drive, AAA recommends that you:

• Ask a passenger riding with you to make the call for you.
• Make the cell phone call brief.
• Get off the cell phone if you get caught in traffic or it starts to rain or snow.

New Study in NSC Journal Shows Hands-Free Phones No Safer Than Hand-Held Phones,, July 9, 2009

Talking Distractions: Why Cell Phones And Driving Don't Mix, Science Daily, June 1, 2008

Related Web Resources:
Cellphone laws, Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, July 2009

Crashes caused by inattentive drivers are nothing new. Cell phones are the latest distraction, Via Magazine, May 2003

Contact our Chicago, Illinois car accident law firm to schedule your free case evaluation.

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