Most people in Georgia probably think that as long as they are using a hands-free device while talking on the phone, they can take care of other tasks at the same time. This philosophy seems to have carried over to driving, as well, as people across the state begin using these devices to try to avoid traffic tickets for holding a phone to their ear while behind the wheel.
State law is strict when it comes to holding a phone. According to USA Today, a driver who interacts with a phone just enough to tap the screen to adjust the music, or who picks up the phone at a stop light, could receive a traffic ticket and a fine. The law does not ban hands-free devices.
But are hands-free devices really the solution to distracted driving? The National Safety Council says absolutely not. While having a conversation on the phone, a driver’s focus on the road narrows significantly. In fact, the driver may see only 50% of what he or she would otherwise perceive if not cognitively distracted by the call.
The NSC compares talking on the phone and driving to talking on the phone and reading a book. Comprehending the text of the book and carrying out the tasks related to driving are similar in their complexity, and someone who is talking on the phone will miss important details. The reader may have to turn back a few pages, but the driver can never turn back the clock to the moments before an accident. More than 1,000 people sustain injuries in distracted driving crashes in the U.S. every day.
Multi-tasking does not always result in getting more done. The brain can only excel at performing one task at a time, researchers say, and driving is one task that every driver should seek to excel at.