CrackBerry Poll: Do You Feel You're Actually Safer When Using Hands-Free Technology While Talking and Driving

Hands-Free Poll
By Kevin Michaluk on 2 Feb 2010 10:54 am EST

While doing some house cleaning this weekend I had the television playing in the background and caught the tail end of a story in regards to bans on talking on cell phones while driving. I *think* the story I saw was referring to California, and essentially stated that despite the bans on talking on your cell phone while driving (while holding the phone in your hand) being in effect for a while now, there has been no decrease to the rate of car accidents involving cell phones. There are a few ways you can look at a statement like that: are people not using hands-free solutions still and just saying they were after an incident? are (some) hands-free solutions just as distracting as holding the phone in your hand and talking? maybe it's texting vs. talking that's the real culprit? You get the idea.

Either way, I thought this would make a good poll to see where CrackBerry Nation currently weighs in on the subject. Obviously, not all hands-free accessories are created equal and not all people are at the same level of comfort in using them. I think vehicles that have Bluetooth built in are probably the optimal solution, but not every car on the road features it. In the vehicle I currently drive I don't have native BT, so typically use a Bluetooth speakerphone (currently using the BlackBerry Visor Mount) for calls now that it's law where I live to go hands-free. But is it actually safer? It's a little yes and no for me. Once you're connected and driving and talking I guess it feels safer, but at the same time it feels like there's more going on and more room for distractions (make sure the speakerphone is on, put the radio to the right station, BT turned on the phone and paired, etc.). It's more complex than just sticking the phone to your ear and talking.

Sound Off! What's your preferred hands-free solution? My guess is a lot of people out there are not yet comfortable with their in-car hands-free solution, so if you think you have like the solution you're using, be sure to share it in the comments. Let us know what accessories / method / etc. you use in your car to talk on the phone and remain focused on driving. And if you're looking for some in-car ideas, be sure to browse our Car Kits and Mounts and Bluetooth Accessories offerings. 

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Reader comments

CrackBerry Poll: Do You Feel You're Actually Safer When Using Hands-Free Technology While Talking and Driving


Statistics are notoriously tricky so I will say two things:

1. Just because states have bans on using cell phones doesn't mean people adhere to them (like speeding laws).
2. There seems to be evidence that texting and driving is extremely detrimental to your ability to drive. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood has a campaign called "distracted driving" that you may be interested in looking at.

I just don't drive and use my BB. I put it away because I don't need to email when I am driving a 2 ton machine.

It doesn't matter whether one is using hands-free or not. It's the distraction of listening to a dis-embodied voice that's the problem. Ultimately, some people can multi-task, some can't. Those who can't shouldn't talk on the phone when they drive.

Yes, it is safer and definitely better than using one hand holding a phone up against my ear that way I can have both hands on the wheel of my dropped Explorer Sport just in case I need to do some serious drifting or power sliding!!! Heh, heh, heh!!

Okay, on a more serious note, people! Just imagine a fighter jet pilot having to hold a phone with one hand and trying to maneuver that F-18 in the air with the other. It's not safe.

On hands free devices I have used the stereo wired hands free headset that came in the box with my Blackberry Curve through Verizon. It works really good and that you don't have to worry about charging it like you do with the bluetooth headsets. The drawback is that in certain States I've heard it is illegal to have stereo headphones on while driving. The way to work around that is to put one earbud on only. But trust me, it sounded so much better when you have both earbuds on.....stereo effect, that is. Heh, heh.

Okay, as far as bluetooth headset goes I've used a Jabra that uses a single replaceable AAAA battery. The battery lasted about 8 hours of talk time. But not a whole lot of stores carry that type of battery. I have a Plantronics bluetooth that needs charging after about 2-3 hours of talk time. And I have a Iqua 603 Sun. This is my favorite because it's solar powered. You just charge it and use it where ever there's light (I lived in sunny California and just moved to Vegas). I swear to you you can almost talk forever with this device!

Now, on to my personal favorite a wired cassette tape device with a 3.5 mm jack. All I got to do is put cassette tape in my car stereo, insert 3.5 mm jack in my Blackberry and I'm ready to roll! As far as pros and cons with this:

• The cassette tape device will always be left in the car which means I'll always have it with me when I'm driving.
• It won't get lost, because I'm not carrying it.
• I don't need to charge it.
• I don't have to worry about battery drain on my Blackberry due to having the bluetooth on.
• It has minimal moving parts and no electronics to worry about.
• It is very reliable.
• It is cheap to replace. ($10-20 in most places depending on brand.)
• Unlike devices that depend on fm radio frequencies, I don't have to worry about finding a station with a good signal. Have you ever tried listening to the radio in remote areas such as mountains and canyons. How good was the reception for you?
• I can listen to music on my Blackberry. (My own playlist, Pandora etc.)
• When there is an incoming call music stops and phone rings. Just hit send and then the speaker phone.
• No matter how loud the traffic is or if you like to have all your windows down, maybe in a convertible on a hot sunny day you don't have to worry about not being able to hear the other person (it happens to me with bluetooth headsets) because now you have your car stereo volume dial at your disposal! Sky's the limit!

• No phone sex. Cars next to you might be able to hear it. Unless you're an exhibitionist!
• You can't be shy. With the windows down or in a convertible people can listen in on your conversation.
• Some people might think you're insane or retarded because you'll look like you're talking to yourself!

Race car drivers always buckle up and have both hands on the wheel while racing except when they shift gears. So I would definitely tell my friends to use some sort of handsfree device while talking and driving because it's safer due to the fact that one would have an extra hand to help maneuver away from or avoid the bad drivers that are out there on the road we share! (God, where did they get their licenses.) And I hope you all do the same. Know your limitations! Use good judgment! Drive safe! Peace!

I understand the premise of the question, but I do think that a bluetooth device, if you set it up beforehand, can be dramatically safer then attempting to hold a cellphone with one hand and drive with the other. If you're screwing around with the connection or with other things, then yes, it's just as bad as texting or reading emails.

What I don't think is any safer are these apps that read your texts to you out loud. If you get a text, you simply shouldn't be checking it when you're's that simple. At the very least, if you feel like you have to check it, do it while stopped at a stop sign or in a long line of cars for a stoplight. But of course, always obey whatever laws are enforced where you are.

even with bluetooth be it in car speaker or ear piece, my focus while driving drops. I've missed a few turns before while talking on the phone while drive and thats with an ear piece... Most people would be quick to say NO just because they love there phones so much and dont want to be told not to use it while driving. But its a proven fact that your focus while driving drops when on the phone. Regardless of how good of a driver you think you are it still drops

I'm a firm believer in wearing a blue tooth headset in the car. I really burns my butt how many people drive while holding the phone up to their ear. They have a tendency to drive slower, which can also be a safety hazard.

How is this different from listening or singing with the radio? I'm not for either side by the way. I see people smoking and swerving (then littering) worse than people on cell phones. THen we have those putting makeup on. Or the kid standing in the back seat and not in a car seat (wait, isn't that against the law too?) So I think it's all a mute point. Put drivers in a bubble where they can only drive, hear emergency vehicles, and not be bothered. Otherwise, get over it.

I use the Motorola H12. Awesome unit.

First vehicle like that. May be a bit better than handheld but still distracting to be talking and driving. Dialing is still the same issue with big distraction.

The idea behind CA hands free law is to have a person keep both hands on the wheel to be able to maneuver quickly should they need to (car jumps in front of them and need to swerve quickly), and so they can look forward, and look around.

A Major reason accidents have not decreased is that while you may have both hands on the wheel now, people are still very wrapped up in their conversations, thus mentally they are not paying attention to what they are doing (driving), so reaction times are decreased

I'm just as distracted hands free or not. When I'm on the phone I lose my focus.

Listening to music is not the same, it is in the background and I don't have to focus my attention to it unlike a phone call. This is why I don't bother talking while I drive, your call can wait.

then you know your limitations, and I am sure you dont talk on the phone while driving. GOOD.

Listening to music is the same, it is in the background, but you are still in a zone, listening to the words, jamming, singing along, ect...

I love seeing some people know their limitations and dont talk while driving because they know they cant do it. There are people that can barely drive with no distractions, and then they try to add a phone to the mix, these are the people that need to STOP IT.

....and if you're listening to talk radio, it won't be long before your mind is engaged! I guess there's a whole lot of things that we need to outlaw to keep more stupid people safe. That's been my campaign for quite some time anyway. This country is going to pot because we are saving too many idiots.

I use the Jabra SP700 Car Speakerphone. It works perfectly. I can stream music to my radio one minute and then take a call the next. All while keeping both hands on the wheel.

Impossible to not feel safer and less distracted if you are not using one arm to hold a phone. BT solutions; Honda Hands free link in my car, Plantronics Pro everywhere else.

The main problem is not that you're actually handling the phone or an accessory. Your attention is drastically reduced when using a phone in any way. you just won't focus as much on the road, etc. and that's when accidents happen. You're just better off stopping if you want to have a conversation.

With the Storm I just have my phone in a cradle on my dash and running through my stereo via the headphone jack. When a call comes in, answer, hit speaker and you have a fancy speakerphone playing over your car speakers. Now, the problem is my Storm's mic is acting up....

The problem is the conversation is distracting. Not the phone. And that goes for any conversation. Be it on a phone, or talking to the passenger. Infact, talking to a passenger may be more distracting since many people prefer to look at the person while they are talking. At least with a phone you are looking in the general direction of the road.

My solution is that I dont use my phone while driving. I drive an older stick-shift truck that is very loud. So its hard to hold a phone and shift at the same time, plus you can't hear people on the phone. So I just wait till I am stopped and out of the vehicle to talk on the phone. I know that wont work for most people because of business and such but thats just my solution....

Before I got my first hands-free headset (pre-Bluetooth), I didn't realize what a difference headsets make. After I used the headset, I realized that I don't turn my head as far when checking for other vehicles while holding a phone to my ear. I also only had 1 hand available for the wheel if driving conditions changed. Headsets make a major difference!

With that said, just as with in-car conversations, priorities have to be established. Driving is my priority, and I'll stop talking or ignore the person on the phone if needed in order to give extra condition to driving. Because everyone is different, if that's not something that a person can make themself do then they need to set their own rule not to use the phone while driving just as some won't adjust the radio while moving.

My girl friend uses a Motorola T305 BT speaker which has a great speaker, but you need to speak loudly. And I have a LG HBS-250 BT headset. Same issues. Both work perfectly, just mic quality isn't that great.

We both would never talk with our phones in our hands.

I'd have to say I LOVE my blueant V1 bluetooth headset. It is comfortable enough that I wear it anytime I'm in the car. It tells me what number is calling me and I can answer by saying "Answer". If I don't recognize the number I only need to glance at my phone. I would definitely say I feel safer with it as I prefer to have both hands on the wheel, or at least one on the wheel and one hand free and ready to put on the wheel if an emergency situation emerges. I hate holding a phone to my head whenever I forget my headset at home. The only downside to a headset is listening to music in your car. It definitely is a detriment to the music experience when you have anything in your ear and since I wear it at all times when I'm in my car... well you get the picture.

It is just a little safer for me as I drive a standard. It is a pain in the ass to shift gears while talking on the phone and drinking a coffee.

First of all, that cartoon is hilarious. A police officer should be suitably confounded if he is supposed to enforce the law against drivers holding cell phones to their ears with their hands and talking whilst driving, only to encounter a contortionist who has bypassed both law and electronics by holding the phone with his foot.

Questions reverberating in the officer's head might include: Is the act of talking on a cell phone with your foot inherently dangerous? If the officer is smart, this should lead to a corollary question: Does the car have a manual or automatic transmission? If the car has a manual transmission, stop, arrest and detain the man for reckless driving, since he can't handle the clutch and brake with just one foot.

If, however, it is an automatic transmission, this leads to a further dilemma. A car with an automatic transmission can be operated safely with one foot, since there is no clutch to contend with. But then, to what extent would the spectacle of a man talking with a phone cradled in his toes prove to be a distraction to other drivers on the road? If the officer concludes that the act would be a distraction, then this should in turn lead to a further question; how visible was the act? If it was highly visible, then stop, arrest and detain. If it was not highly visible to other drivers, perhaps owing to tinted windows and such, deliver a warning, and allow driver to continue on his way.

Anyways. I digress. I used to use my Bluetooth earpiece (a Jawbone by Aliph) pretty extensively. I do believe that it forestalls accidents and makes me more focused while driving, since I can answer any incoming calls with the click of a button on my ear. It is especially useful when making calls because all I have to do is press the button to access auto dialing and name the contact, all without actually touching the phone.

Also not having to hold the phone pinned to my ear frees up my hand for making turns and such. But Bluetooth devices burn my phone battery which is already bad enough, so I have taken to using stereo headsets. I like the stereo headsets because they don't consume any battery, and can easily be used to listen to music in between calls. It does, however, look more unprofessional, so I am less apt to take it to work with me. Oh, and for the record, I buy third-party stereo headsets because the OEM that comes with the phone is too large to fit in my ears, and the sound quality is mediocre. I am currently using a VModa that I am very happy with.

My car didn't come with native Bluetooth apparatus, and having seen first hand how well they work, I won't be buying a visor-mount Bluetooth package. I'll merely wait for my next car, and hope that it comes with it.

I've always thought that it's the conversation to blame and not just because I'm holding a cell phone to my ear. How often is smoking to blame for an accident because, ZOMG, they are holding a cigarette! (i dont smoke but just using this for the sake of the argument). Or what about eating while driving!

Personally, I use a BT headset to talk, and I try not to have a conversation in the "city" (not like NYC, much smaller where I live). But I'll talk on the thruway the whole ride because I don't have to worry about a) traffic lights/stops signs b) drivers running lights c) pedestrians. Not that it's "safer", just less to be wary of. And I certainly don't have a conversation in a parking lot cause that's waaay stupid.

It's kinda like people pouring themselves into clothes that are way to small for them - just because you can, doesn't mean you smart about cell phone use!!

Its all about the "Situation" (and I don't mean the dude from Jeresy Shore). I have now problem with someone using their cellphone in there car while driving but you have to iunderstand which situations you can use it in. While backing up is a big NO. In heavy rain and snow again a big No. While driving in rush-hour traffic on the capital beltway a REALLY BIG NO. Driving down a highway with 5 car lenghts between you and the car infront of you sure feel free to use it. I can't tell you who many time I have told someone that I have been talking to on my blackberry while driving that I had to go because traffic was getting worse or because it started rain and I couldn't pay attention to them anymore.

Using hands free is a lot safer inmy opinion. Whats the difference between that and talking to someone in the passenger seat? Hands free allows the use of both hands just like when someone else is in the car with you. You still have to have the common sense to pay more attention to driving than the conversation which is asking a lot for some people.

Driving and doing any task including talking to a person whether you can see him/her or not is a distraction but...nothing comes close to driving while holding a phone or a cup of coffee, burger, fixing hair or adding some make up in the car.

I use a built-in Bluetooth system in my car, and feel it is definitely safer in some regards. I do not have to pull the phone out of my pocket, I usually just hit one button and it does everything. However, I have two phones, and switching back-and-forth is definitely not a one-handed process.

Last week I saw this article (below) at the Volokh Conspiracy. As a law student, I read those kinda blogs for fun (call me crazy). The article went on about how laws banning cell-phones while driving, did not change anything. So, makes me wonder if it really matters that we spends tons of money on Bluetooth hands-free and other hands-free devices.

Taking a call and "talking towards the mirror" (with MS Sync) is way safer than many other things done while driving, such around for a CD, trying to find a radio station, adjusting the GPS, carrying on a conversation with a passenger or tending to kids in the back seat. Making phone calls is not a problem.

When this "so-called" cell phone law never existed, I was driving and talking holding my cell phone all the time and I still paid attention to the rode and drove safe.

But now since they've thrown this (never should have happened) cell phone law into the mix, I haven't gone out and bought a hands-free bluetooth yet, and probably won't, as I just talk on my phone using the speaker phone option, but also, I have it hooked up to my car's stereo using a cassette tape that hooks up to my cell phone using a headphone jack. That's it.

Messing with hands-free accessories is not safe. Talking on the phone holding your cell phone is saf(er).. and that's that.

I don't know the statistics of how many people a year cause accidents or get into accidents while holding a cell phone, but I know it can't be that much, but then again, I could be wrong. If one person messes up, everyone pays for it. And that's the world we live in.

Learn how to drive first before attempting to drive while holding/talking on a cell phone.

Now texting/driving is a completely different story...

I currently pair my BB Tour to a Garmin 265 WT NAvigation unit and I love it. The sound quality is great and I have a convertible.

It's not the texting while driving that concerns me, it's those drivers who think they can drive while sexting... Let's utilize some common sense people.

I adopted the Borg look years ago with a Bluetooth headset and I've not looked back... But always let people know I'm driving and I'm not afraid to drop out of the conversation if I need to.

I can have a simple chat on the 'phone, but nothing in-depth or work related...

I'm a grown man; I can decide for myself what are safe and unsafe actions to be taken in the car. I don't need, nor do I want, the government telling me what to do in my car with my BlackBerry!!

I will continue texting and emailing while I drive.

I normally agree with this argument but I don't in this case. Your car is on a public road which is shared with other people.

What you do in your car that could be dangerous to you also puts me and other drivers at risk. Thats why I think its okay for you to go and have however many beers you want, but if you're drunk driving I think you should be arrested.

First of all, the core premise that "cell phone usage causes crashes" predicates on the statistic that shows a higher percentage of people in a crash were using phones than used to be. This is a faulty metric to use. Causation and correlation aren't the same thing. Massively more people have cell phones than ever before, which alone accounts for huge increases in cell phones being "involved" in collisions.

Second, the premise that cell phone use is meaningfully more distracting than other typical automobile activities. A screaming infant in a car has got to be more distracting to a mother, for instance. Yet we don't force mothers with infants to have chauffeurs. Skipping breakfast will leave many people low-function, and huge portions of the populace drive around before they've had their "essential" morning coffee. These folks are impaired. Yet we don't for mandatory morning stimulants.

No. Cell phones are a visible irritant, which makes them a target. Selection bias indicates that people with agendas are going to seek nothing but evidence in their favor, instead of being statistically fair.

your example us true enough I have witness a pretty bad accident because a mother was consumer with disciplining her children. But she had only one hand on the will and was completly looking behind her.

But your example us not the same. In the crying baby example a person has made the choice to be mentally and physically be distracted. I can tell you I have had choice word with my children in the car while keeping my eyes on the street and hands on the wheel.

With a cell phone the user must tie up one hand on the wheel while placing the phone over their ear. This act obstructs the drivers vision because the hand blocks the peripheral view also limits the drivers head motion since the hand cannot move farther than the head can turn.

I can tell you that I've personlly have had more close call accidents from folks on their phone than crying infants.

I used to use a Bluetooth head set but found I often forgot to put the head set on. That meant I had to put the head set on before I could answer. Needless to asat that didn't work out it was much too dangerous.

My preferred method is to use an FM transmitter since I tend to listen to podcasts or Pandora radio over my car stereo. When a call comes in I just hit the send button and talk over the phone's Mic and listen via my car speakers. the call quality is very good.

I agree with a lot of posters who mentioned call are distraction in themselves. Personally I like to keep my calls very short, most of my calls are done in 30 second.

Personally, I think its not the phone, but the individual. Some people can multitask and some just cannot. I have used bluetooth headsets, loudspeaker etc, its not different from using the actual phone, i mean you're not concentrating on the phone or the handsfree device but the conversation.. with that being said the nature of the conversation can affect the driver's concentration.
I have used my cellphone while driving and it didn't distract or impair my ability to control the car safely and concentrate on what was going on around me. It depends on the individual, and that being said, i have realized that i'd become more cautious while using the phone. Also, it does depend upon the conditions you are faced with whilst driving. e.g. heavy rain, low visibilties, traffic conditions etc. These are just some conditions where you can't afford to take chances and even if you're an excellent multitasker you shouldn't use the phone!

BT tech is cool and all, but the only reason that I buy any of it is because I'm just a geek who can't help himself. With that being said, I don't think that I drive any better, or worse, while employing BT tech.

But here's a better idea, don't talk and drive. Your conversation probably isn't that important to risk my life on the road. It's ok for me to do it. I'm a better driver than you are.

I honestly still prefer to use my tried and true wired headset. I use the Jabra JabWave headset. Its comfy, sounds good and I get no complaints from people with sound quality. Like you said, you dont have to pair it or charge it, just plug and talk and the wire doesnt really get in the way when your just sitting in your car. Simple and effective...

i Just use the speaker from my BlackBerry. I have a BlueTooth headset but don't use it for my BB (just for the ps3)

I'm into the service industry, I fix computers. Fixing computers is very thought intensive, diagnosing someones computer on the phone, with bluetooth, plus driving, is not productive to a long life.

I can multitask, but I'm not that great. Not worth it. And even then for a every day person, or even one who multitasks, its not worth it either. I've driven around a lot, and let me tell you, things get interesting when someones on the phone, then starts banging on their steering wheel, and screaming. Yeeeaaa..... Luckily she managed to get out of her car after she drove it into a telephone pole.

...but both hands-free or holding the phone are still distracting.

And yes, talking to a passenger can be just as distracting for those drivers who feel the need to turn their heads to face the passenger. But there's one major difference: The passenger will very likely alert (i.e., say something to or even scream at) the driver if the driver begins drifting, swerving or driving erratically or if the driver doesn't see a hazard up ahead (something the person on the other end of the phone can't do).

I use a Bluetooth headset and voice activation too make calls all the time in the car or otherwise. Just push a button at my ear and tell the phone who to call. OR, push the button to receive a call. It's less distracting than talking to someone next to you as you don' keep turning to look at them. Ii feel much better using my BB this way than any other I have tried.

I think it really depends on the driver in the end. But its definitly safer driving with a bluetooth on because you don't have to reach out your hand to grab the phone when you want to answer it. And I believe shoulder checking and stuff will be easier too since having ur hands next to ur ear will cover some of the blind spot and turning ur head around will be a bit tougher as well.

I don't actually receive many calls, so I'm happy to put my BB aside in the vehicle and use the Onstar phone in it, dialing with voice commands.

driving with in-car blue tooth is like talking to someone else in the car. Our 08 Rogue even shows the # of the person calling on the stereo display. Touch a button on the steering wheel and you're good to go.

I think it's as safe as smoking while you drive. Or if you have kids in the back seat. Or if your mother-in-law is sitting next to you.

It still is dangerous to be talking while driving, especially if it is a heated discussion. Bluetooth should be worn and not be holding the phone to the ear. Most definitely. But also when you have a passenger with you and are talking...same thing can be a distraction when you really think about it. Anything can be distracting from drinking water to talking.

We need to be more aware when driving. Stupidity causes accidents and safety should be the top priority and concern.

I prefer to not talk but if necessary, the bluetooth is in my ear. I want to be safe when I am driving and I hope the same for other drivers. I see it all the time though. Phone to the ear. I don't think it is wise. It is my opinion.

I use a Plantronics 925 whenever I leave my house, my Bold stays in my pocket nearly 100% of the time, to use a cell phone while driving is simply not smart, to text while driving is simply put, Ignorant, only a fool would not see the danger of this, I saw on CNN that California is considering tripleing the fine for cell phone use in a car and some US Lawmaker wants it to be illigal nationwide, it is very dificult to legislate ignorance out of some people though.

Well if they can ban driving and talking on a phone--what are they going to do about the other distrations??? First- let me tell you- my mind has been the biggest distraction to my driving (hmmm....ban that maybe). There are times that I have so much on my mind that I am going somewhere but heading in the opposite direction. Of course I blame that on the car having a mind of its own. And then maybe ban my husband or my customers- cuz those are usually the things that are making my mind be a distration.
I don't know the answer- but another law doesn't seem to be it. I use the speakerphone on my Storm when I am on the phone while driving. I try not to have to use the phone much either when I am behind the wheel- but sometimes do. I NEVER text or read texts though. I am just not that multi- talented.
A law will not stop those that drive with phones in a stupid manner or make are roads safer- it will just give the states a way to make more money when they catch us.

None of these options apply to my thoughts. I feel that the cellphone ban was an unnecessary one. The issue isn't people being distracted by cellphones; the issue is people who simply don't pay enough attention to the road. Example: I had a woman driving behind me the other day, and at every stop light she would fish around for something in her car. By the time she realized the light had turned green I was about a quarter mile down the road already.

People simply don't care enough to put the focus needed into driving. The only thing that can fix this is if people wise up and realize that they need to pay attention to where they are going at 3+ times the speed a person can run. All cellphone bans do is get the people who are capable of putting the road first and their conversation (90% of them are less than a minute long, just a simple "hey, I'll be there in about 15 minutes;" which is a hell of a lot safer than texting) pulled over while making the roads no safer overall.

People need to wizen up, or cars need to be made into bare boxes with absolutely no distractions in them.

Human nature is the issue, not cellphones.

Example: I had a woman driving behind me the other day, and at every stop light she would fish around for something in her car. By the time she realized the light had turned green I was about a quarter mile down the road already


Seriously though- my husband is out on the road everyday and sees women flying past him on I78-driving with their knee, talking on the phone and putting on makeup. He says it they scare the @#$% out of him.

Conclusion: Women should not be allowed to drive.

I jest of course, but seriously, what does it take for people to respect the fact that they are in control of a quarter to half ton hunk of metal moving at decently high speeds with other hunks of metal moving at the same speed around you? Doesn't anyone think to themselves "hmm, I should probably pay attention so I don't run into someone or something?"

My car has built in bluetooth, I love it. I don't feel that talking on the phone while driving (talking, not texting or dialing) is any worse than listening to a radio or looking at a gps or having someone else in the car and talking to them. When windshield wipers were invented they were almost banned because the government thought that they would distract people.

Some people are stupid, some people can't drive under any circumstances.

AND the latest studies have shown that in states that have banned cell phone use there has been a ZERO difference in accidents.

Personally, I feel that talking on the phone and/or texting while driving IS a definite distraction. Obviously texting takes away more than talking because you have to physically look or glance at the phone, which takes your eyes off the road. But talking can also be a huge distraction. Have you ever talked on the phone for the entire drive home, only to realize that you don't remember much of your trip? I'm not sure if a hands-free will solve that problem, but it definitely helps free up hands so that they can be used for driving.

I'll say this though, texting while driving needs to stop. Sure, we all do it and most of us have had no problems. But last Thursday my supervisor at work was killed by an idiot who was texting and ran a red light, thus smashing into her at 60 mph as she attempted to cross the intersection. She was on her way to work early to get some work done before everyone else got there. She was killed instantly and now this guy has been charged with vehicular homicide. Seeing the effects of texting while driving up close and personal like that REALLY makes it real.

Driving requires your feet, hands, ears, eyes, and brain. The more of these resources that are distracted by things other than driving, the more dangerous you will be.

Hands-free devices make driving while talking on the phone safer because, unlike a handset, they allow your hands and eyes to remain dedicated to the task of driving (I mention eyes because it is difficult to look around into blind spots quickly while holding a phone to your head).

But that's not all. Whether hands-free or not, a conversation still requires concentration. Troubleshooting a computer problem with a customer or having a heated argument with your spouse over the phone will pretty much monopolize your attention, leaving no one present to drive your car.

But a short & simple call that requires little analytical thought or emotion while in an area without difficult traffic conditions and while using a hands-free device is probably safe (e.g., "Hi Honey. I'll be home at 6. Bye.").

I find it can pose distractions handsfree or not. With that being said, I do have a bluetooth speakerphone in my car and it definitely comes in handy. It's too much to try to hold the phone and drive a 6-speed.

There is no difference as far as hands being occupied between holding a phone to your ear and having one hand on a manual shift lever. The distraction is trying to concentrate mentally on two things that require making decisions - e.g. What to do when the car in front suddenly brakes and listening to your spouse go through a litany of things that you need to pick up on the way home.
Has anyone ever gotten behind some idiot with his phone to his ear going 60 on the interstate in the left lane, blocking traffic. He has no idea what he is doing.
There may be a some who can drive safely and talk at the same time but I believe they are few and far between so you have make one law for the worst case and of course our idiot state legislatures make laws against handhelds.

I think in order to be really safe, people need to a) be able to multitask and b) find a hands-free solution that works for them.

I use a Motorola Speaker. It fits on the visor...not in my ear. I don't have to worry about putting it in or having it fall out on me. Plus, I don't look like a cyborg. I just talk normally and everything works fine!

Motorola T325. Least amount of setup required, amazing sound, easy interface with Blackberry's amazing voice dialing software. It always recognizes the names I say, it activates with one easy push, and theres only 1 big button to use so its nice and simple. Volume is perfect and sound on both ends is great.

Battery life is awesome, not as superb as the Moto T215, but more than good enough, and comes with an in car charger (microUSB) which I also use for my 9700. Best part? ITS CHEAP

I can eat, talk on the phone, and drive a manual transmission vehicle at the same time. How is that different from talking to someone in your car while driving? It all depends on the person. I've seen plenty of drivers who can't drive even without anything distracting them.

Just continue making everything illegal until they outlaw lawmakers ;)

I have been using Aliph's Jawbone II for a couple of years, and it's easy. People know I am in the car when I call, and fully understand if the conversation dies so I can ignore them and get through whatever is on the road.

Safe driving is not a matter of banning things. It's a matter of people resisting the temptation to allow themselves to be distracted. I don't need my phone on to find, for instance, that I have been on auto pilot through half my morning commute. That has nothing to do with my phone and everything to do with my own mental stamina.

You can't make laws about that. Enacting the laws simply make it more possible to punish people more severely if they are stupid enough to be texting and driving, or driving distracted. It isn't going to make people safer drivers.

The fact is that there is no one TRUE answer yet laws have to deal with people that think posted speed limits are valid no matter what the road conditions. They also have to have something concrete enough for law enforcement and courts.

Brain studies show we do not truly "multi-task." We switch attention from topic to topic. That means there are many factors impacting concentration and speed of processing such as fatigue, stress level, amount of info coming at us (traffic, passengers, road conditions), age, etc. So our general wellbeing at the moment. I only have a couple places where I use my phone. They are low-stress driving areas and if the visibility or road conditions are a concern I don't.

We become so conditioned to answering devices it can be a problem if they are managing us instead of us managing and setting boundaries.

I don't like the choices offered. All seem to use a negative approach. In fact what I think is that both using hands-free and using a cellphone while driving isn't distracting at all if you do it right.

What's next? They'll ban hands-free then they will convince use that talking to passengers is dangerous.

The problem real problem is lack of judgement. If you can't concentrate on driving when you do anything else or just feel tired.. don't risk other's life!

This is a sore topic for me.

My job involves extensive driving. I am routinely cut off or nearly side-swiped by individuals holding a cellular phone to their ears.

December 2008 my business partners and I were stopped at a light when a young lady rear ended us traveling a approximately 40 mph. Witnesses in a van later told the investigating officer she was texting on her cellular phone and had nearly side-swiped them a quarter mile before ramming into us with no indication of breaking prior to. As a result, I suffered two ruptured cervical discs, permanent numbness in many of my finger tips, and am looking forward to surgery in the near future. The young lady had a fly by night insurance company so it was very fortunate the bulk of my medical expenses were covered by workman's compensation.

My employer provides me with a Blackberry and a hands free set up in my car. Of course I am extremely biased due to my experience, but I feel handling a cellular phone or texting while driving should be a criminal offense. Bottom line, this lady at least deserved a ride to jail and a fine rather than getting a simple non-criminal citation. I endured many hours on a back-board, MRI scans, and many sleepless night because some silly girl wanted to text while driving.

A hands free device allows for focused driving and law should require it for all drivers nationwide.

Ideally, using a hands-free earpiece is "safer" than fiddling with your device. Again depending on how you setup your devices (do you need to dial the number or voice dial, to respond calls do you click on the earpiece vs anykey on the device vs specific answer key vs auto-answer?

Between bluetooth earpiece of sunvisor (radio even) options, what is safer between those methods? Sunvisor might have call display, will you not look away for a quick second to see who is calling?

And agreed, talking to someone in the passenger seat, or checking your children in the backseat, lighting a cigarette, checking that hot body on the sidewalk lol, is also "distracting".

You are as safe as how you are aware of things around you and ready to anticipate the road prior to your next action...I wonder how many accidents involving eating fast food (mmm those MCDs sausage egg on the way to work).

And all agreed, texting or emailing while controlling a motor vehicle is purely retarded.

The big plus with Bluetooth Headsets is keeping your eyes on the road, once it's on, just press a button to answer, no looking needed, great design! My wife's car has touch screen control for radio, climate, ect. It's a flat screen, with no tactile feel, you HAVE to look at it to operate it. IMO it's just as distracting as fiddling with a cell phone. No responsible car company should use this design.

Even hands free, I feel distracted, so I try to avoid using the phone in any fashion while driving.

I asked a friend who is a research scientist at Northwestern in perceptual psychology about this. She hadn't read any literature about it, but it was her idea that when you are talking on the phone--versus the person in the passenger's seat--that you unavoidably imagine that you're sitting with the person on the other end of the phone, and thus your attention and perception are split.

I like her opinion on this.


one more thing, i've been texting and driving since texting started, and never had anything close to this happen. another truck pulled out and i was looking at my phone. shit happens! sooner or later. the law is good. if you're driving do just that and drive! i know i wouldn't be able to live down the guilt if i killed somebody because i couldn't put down my phone.

i drive a sports car with short throw shifter, heavy clutch and heavy steering. first thing i got when i got storm was Motorola h710. and even though it is quite possible to downshift in a turn while smoking and talking on the phone, i highly discourage doing so. also, having a high quality handsfree makes it seem like you are talking to a passenger. when i forget it and use the phone directly - i hate myself because i start driving like a retard.
also i cant count number of times when i was almost wiped off the road by an idiot stuck on a phone or even worse - trying to text or email. dont do that. its really really stupid.
i've never missed a turn because i was on handsfree. having a handsfree saved my ass multiple times because i was able to take work related calls and such.
bottom line if you know you cant multitask, dont take phonecalls in the car regardless. and dont listen to the music or talk to passengers.