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Hands-free cellphone use isn't safer for drivers

New Jersey motorists might think of distracted driving as it pertains to cellphone use as primarily meaning texting and driving. While the dangers of that behavior, which is against the law in most states, are well known, many people believe that talking on a cellphone while at the wheel is safe, especially when using a hands-free device. The National Safety Council says that this is not true, and that even a hands-free phone conversation is a dangerous distraction to a driver.

The NSC describes what it calls the myth of multitasking, stating that the human brain cannot effectively concentrate on two thinking tasks at the same time. The brain instead switches between the two tasks, which while driving could mean a missed traffic signal or delayed reaction time. Some people argue that talking on a hands-free device is no different than talking to a passenger in the car. The NSC points out that a passenger is aware of the traffic situation and usually adjusts the level of conversation accordingly.

Crashes related to cellphone use are underreported. Currently there is no definite way to know if a drvier was distracted at the time of an accident. NSC research indicates that many drivers do not admit to authorities that they were using a cellphone, even if there is evidence of such use such as texts sent just before the crash or a passenger's statement that the driver was using a phone.

When car accidents result in injuries, determining fault can involve crash investigators, police officers and others. An attorney for an injured victim can rely on such evidence to establish that another driver was negligent and thus should bear financial responsibility.

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