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Study shows hands-free phones lead to other distractions

Florida residents are no doubt aware that distracted driving is a serious concern. Every day in this country, at least nine people die in auto accidents involving a distracted driver. Distractions are numerous: using the phone, using a navigation system, adjusting the volume on the radio, eating, drinking etc. Some avoid the dangers of handheld phone use by opting for hands-free devices, but this has its drawbacks.

A study from Lytx, the maker of video telematics and fleet management software, shows that many truck drivers who use hands-free devices engage in other distracting activities at the same time. Lytx was able to study some 100,000 risky driving events caught on video; 23% of these events had a driver engaging in multiple risky behaviors.

One good thing was that 65% of all phone use among Lytx fleets in 2018 was hands-free. Hands-free phone use went up 27% that year. However, there were 10% more events where drivers using hands-free devices were distracted by something else. This second distraction ranged from smoking to using another device. In addition, drivers using hands-free phones were found to engage in unsafe maneuvers like speeding and tailgating. Sudden braking was not unusual among them. Many of these drivers were also found neglecting to wear their seat belt.

Though hands-free phone use is allowed in certain places, this does not free drivers from blame when they cause car crashes due to their having been distracted at the time. Occupants of other vehicles who have been injured in such a collision might want to have legal assistance when seeking compensation for their losses.

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