Many states ban drivers from holding their phones while driving. However, you do not need to hold your phone to use it. Hands-free devices make it easier for you to use them without breaking the law. That does not mean it makes it safe to do so.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) believes a total ban on phone use while driving would dramatically reduce the number of people killed or injured by distracted drivers.
What rules do states have to limit drivers using their phones?
Here is the current situation across the country, with D.C. counting as a state for this exercise:
- No driver can use a handheld phone while driving: 25 states
- No driver can text while driving: 49 states
- Restrictions placed on newly qualified drivers: 38 states
Distracted driving results in around 400,000 injuries and over 3,000 death each year. Anything that could reduce these figures is worth considering.
Why does a hand-held device not make phone use safe?
The big problem with phones is not that they occupy your hands, but that they occupy your mind. While the physical distraction affects your ability to grip the wheel and steer, it is the cognitive distraction that is crucial.
Think about the minor incidents you have had when using your phone around the house or in the office. Perhaps you forgot the stove was on and burnt the lunch. Maybe you were so engrossed in a conversation that you did not notice your boss banging at the door to let them in.
A phone conversation requires you to pay attention to the person on the other end. Driving requires you to pay attention to the road. The two are incompatible, so don’t let a driver who injures you tell you differently.