Hands-Free Cellphone Devices Don’t Aid Road Safety, Study Concludes

And I believe this is true for the open mouth crowd that are unable to walk and chew gum. But I have a hands-free setup and will tell you right now that it works just fine from a safety perspective.

A study of Australian drivers found that those using cellphones were four times as likely to be involved in a serious crash regardless of whether they used hands-free devices like earpieces or speaker phones that have been perceived as making talking while driving safer.

The study, which is to appear in The British Medical Journal today, is the first of its kind to use actual crash data and cellphone records to show a link between talking on the phone and being seriously injured in an accident.

It is also the first to conclude definitively outside of a laboratory setting that holding a phone to the ear or talking through a hands-free device pose the same risks.

Because cellphone records are not considered public information, a similar study has not been conducted in the United States. The most up-to-date research by the federal government has relied either on volunteers who were videotaped while driving or on experiments in which a driver was monitored by researchers in a laboratory.

The new study examined the cellphone records of 744 drivers who had accidents in Perth, Australia, where drivers are required to use hands-free devices. Researchers estimated the time of the crash and looked at whether the driver used a cellphone in the minutes leading up to the accident. They then examined similar time intervals in the days before the crash to calculate the increased risk of using the cellphone. [Read the rest]