Governments may be acting under false assumptions of safety when making laws that require drivers to use headsets or other hands-free devices when talking on cell phones, as studies are indicating that hands-free devices may actually make distraction an even greater issue for drivers on the phone.
Thus far New Jersey, New York and Washington D.C. have all implemented hands-free laws for drivers using cell phones. But a recent report in the Wall Street Journal indicates that these attempts at improving road safety may all be in vain.
First, says the Journal, a new study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that voice-activated dialing methods cause drivers to spend nearly twice as long “dialing” the phone number as old fashioned button-punching does. Second, a 2001 Norwegian study shows that drivers who use hands-free devices make more calls than drivers who use traditional cell phones. And third, a Swedish study states that drivers using hands-free devices drive even faster than other cell-phone using drivers while their braking response time remains the same as other cell phone users