With both hands on the wheel, can a driver still be distracted?

If you use a hands-free device in your vehicle, you may assume that you are making a choice to be safe by not picking up your phone while driving. Other Tennessee drivers make the same assumption, believing that a hands-free device is much better than texting or talking on the phone while driving. In reality, these devices can also be a dangerous source of distracted driving.

Distraction comes in many forms, and all of them are dangerous. When using a hands-free device, a driver can still be a risk to everyone on the road, even with both hands on the wheel. If you were hurt in an accident involving a negligent driver, there is a chance that he or she was cognitively distracted at the time.

More than one kind of distraction

You may think that distraction is distraction, but that is not the case. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are three main types of distraction, as follows:

  • Manual, which happens when a driver removes one or both hands from the wheel
  • Visual, which happens when a driver is looking at something other than the road
  • Cognitive, which happens when a driver's mind is on something besides safe driving

A hands-free device often gives a driver the illusion of safety. While both hands are on the wheel, a driver can still be talking on the phone with his or her mind far away. This is cognitive distraction. No matter what type of distraction it is, it is still dangerous and falls into the category of negligent driving.

Despite perceptions, a driver who is using a hands-free device is not really any safer than a person who is texting while driving, reaching for the radio or eating while behind the wheel.

Holding liable parties accountable

There is no way to reverse the damage done to you by a distracted driver, but you have the right to financial and physical recovery. Through a personal injury claim, it is possible to hold the liable party accountable for the harm you suffered, claiming recompense for your losses, injuries and emotional duress.

No matter what type it is, distracted driving is dangerous driving. Hands-free devices can be dangerous and risky to use, and you may be an innocent victim of an unfocused, cognitively distracted driver. You should not wait to learn about your rights, but should take the steps necessary to fully understand your legal options regarding a civil claim.

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