Cell phone distracted driving has captured the attention of nation’s political leaders and employers and they are taking action:
In December 2011, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that all 50 states and the District of Columbia enact complete bans of all portable electronic devices for all drivers, including banning use of hands-free devices. While no state yet prohibits all drivers from any cell phone use, as of March 2012, 31 states prohibit teen drivers from any cell phone use, including handheld and hands-free.
The Federal Government has taken action. President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order banning federal employees from texting while driving.16 Rules about employee use of cell phones while driving have been issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Federal Railroad Administration.
Nearly all legislation focuses on banning only handheld phones or only texting while driving. All state laws and many employer policies allow hands-free cell phone use. Public opinion polls show people recognize the risks of talking on handheld phones and texting more than they recognize the risks of hands-free phones. Many drivers mistakenly believe talking on a hands-free cell phone is safer than handheld.
A hands-free device most often is a headset that communicates via wire or wireless with a phone, or a factory-installed or aftermarket feature built into vehicles that often includes voice recognition. Many hands-free devices allow voice-activated dialing and operation. Hands-free devices often are seen as a solution to the risks of driver distraction because they help eliminate two obvious risks, visual, looking away from the road and manual, removing your hands off of the steering wheel. However, a third type of distraction can occur when using