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NHTSA Researching Risks of On-Board Technology, Considering Ban

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently begun research into the possible dangers of driving while using popular hands-free technology, such as Bluetooth, Onstar and Sync, and is considering enacting regulations banning certain on-board technology use at some point in the future.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said that he won’t be pushing for restrictions on hands-free systems until further government research is conducted. The NHTSA’s current research focuses on whether hands-free devices are a “cognitive distraction,” a type of distraction in which drivers take their minds off the road, even as their hands remain on the wheel.

Hands-Free Devices Likely No Safer Than Hand-Held

Prior research in this area seems to indicate that hands-free devices are ultimately no safer than their hand-held counterparts. According to a web site launched by the U.S. Department of Transportation,, studies suggest that whether a device is hands-free or hand-held, “the cognitive distraction (that its use creates) is significant enough to degrade a driver’s performance. The driver is more likely to miss key visual and audio cues needed to avoid a crash.” In addition, a recent study carried out by the University of Utah concluded that both hand-held and hands-free cell phones impaired driving, “with no significant difference in the degree of impairment.”

Distracted Driving Fatalities Rising Nationally

The NHTSA’s research into hands-free technology is being conducted at a time in which distracted driving has become a significant factor in the cause of traffic accidents and has only become more prevalent in recent years. The NHTSA concluded, in a study it conducted in 2010, that over 5,500 people are killed and 448,000 are injured nationwide annually, in motor vehicle accidents that occurred as a direct result of distracted driving. According to the NHTSA, in 2009, distracted driving caused sixteen percent of traffic fatalities in the United States, up from ten percent in 2005.

Philadelphia Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Handle Distracted Driving Accident Cases

Given the too-often tragic consequences of distracted driving, it is not surprising that the government is conducting research aimed at reducing the practice. Unfortunately, until the practice is curtailed, Americans will continue to be injured, sometimes fatally, by distracted motorists. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a distracted driver, please contact an experienced personal injury attorney to explore your options. To schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced Philadelphia accident lawyer, call McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC today at 215-569-8488 or submit an online contact form.