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Are hands-free calls safe?

New York residents may appreciate the ability to use cellphones during commute time as they communicate with family members, the office, or others. Hands-free activity has been strongly promoted on the heels of increasing accident statistics related to activities such as texting while driving. However, there is a mistaken belief that hands-free calling is safe.

The brain is distracted during a telephone call, which can increase one's risk of an auto accident. Many vehicles are designed with hands-free communications in mind as Bluetooth pairing and satellite communications are incorporated into the dashboard or steering wheel. The presence of touchscreen entertainment systems can also be deceptive because focusing one's attention on the information on such a screen can create enough of a diversion to cause an accident. While hands-free legislation in some states has resulted in a decline in texting and driving incidents, continued efforts may be needed to further reduce dangers on the nation's roads.

Some employers may provide one of the best solutions to the issue of distracted driving as they prohibit all cellphone communication during work-related activities on the road. Until such action gains traction on a wider scale, the need to minimize distractions is primarily the responsibility of the nation's motorists. It is important for drivers to realize that even a cup of coffee can be distracting enough to cause an accident, and in such a case, there are legal responsibilities that can affect the distracted party who has caused a wreck.

Personal injuries in distracted driving incidents can be particularly severe. For example, a driver who causes a rear-end accident because of focusing on a smartphone could trigger an event that affects multiple vehicles at high speeds. The legal implications in such a situation could involve responsibility not only for the physical damage to other vehicles but also responsibility for the physical impact on the lives of the individuals involved.

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