These days more people drive vehicles that have the capability of hands-free technology. The driver talks to the car, and it connects to the contact. Most states ban texting, while fewer prohibit the use of all cellphones and other hand-held devices. Tennessee is one state that has a hand-held ban.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2018, distracted driving claimed the lives of almost 3,000 people. With so many bans on texting and hand-held devices, does hands-free technology work to keep people from driving distracted?
Vision and driving
Vision is the most important sense for safe driving. Being aware of other drivers on all sides of the vehicle may help to get a person to his or her destination without an incident. However, those who talk on the phone while driving may not have their complete attention on the road. Researchers call this inattention blindness.
Drivers may look at the road, but not see the surrounding objects. Inattention blindness is like tunnel vision. Drivers are looking out the windshield but may not process their environment. They may not truly “see” the other cars or other vehicles on the road.
The National Safety Council states that when distracted drivers experience inattention blindness, their field of view becomes smaller. They miss important visual signals. Drivers may miss exits or go through red lights and stop signs. The dangers occur when drivers do not pay attention to their surrounding environment. It may then be too late to prevent an accident from happening. Other risks may include slow response time and slow reaction time.
A driver’s ability to stay in his or her lane is also a problem. When driving with inattention blindness, the focus is more on the conversation than the road, so swerving into another lane may be likely. Other drivers may need to respond and steer their car away from an impending accident.