Distracted Driving: The Hands-Free Myth Persists

Staff Blog

Staff Blog | Apr 10, 2014

70% of motorists who use hands-free devices say they do so for safety reasons. But research suggests that 26% of all crashes involve cellphone use and hands-free devices aren't helping. So why isn't this myth going away?

Tom and Ray have been saying this for years. (Cars.com)

Consumers are getting mixed messages. Many states have banned handheld phone use, but no state has banned hands-free, and auto-makers continue to produce cars with hands-free communication systems incorporated into the design.

Here's what Car Talk blogger and distracted driving expert David Strayer said on the subject four years ago:

  • Distractions now join alcohol and speeding as leading factors in fatal and serious injury crashes.
  • Hands-free devices offer no safety benefit when driving.
  • Hands-free devices do not eliminate cognitive distraction.
  • Driving while talking on cell phones - handheld and hands-free - increase risk of injury and property crashes fourfold.
  • Research evidence is compelling when studies of varying research designs are conducted in different cultures and driving environments and have similar results.
  • Drivers believe their own crash risk is lower than other drivers.

It's rare that we get to say this. But, we told you so! Now, we invite you to put down your phones and join Tom and Ray in a chorus of: "HANG UP AND DRIVE"

Get the Car Talk Newsletter

Got a question about your car?

Ask Someone Who Owns One