A previous post on this blog talked about how the Virginia Legislature passed a law that will ban motorists in this state from holding their phones while their vehicles are in motion. The previous post suggested that, while the law will probably help keep drivers from holding their phones, it may not do much in the way of reducing car accidents related to distracted driving.
However, a recent study offers a slightly different perspective. The study, which involved observing the behavior of Virginia and other motorists, suggested that those who used a hands-free device while talking on their phones actually were less likely to be involved in an accident.
Specifically, while those drivers who tried to use hand-held phones doubled or even tripled their chances of having an accident, those who used a hands-free device to make a phone call seemed to have no increased risk of being in a crash.
The key point for Blacksburg residents to understand, however, is that this study focused on conventional calls made from a hands-free device, a practice which apparently is no more distracting than talking to another occupant of the car.
It is still not advisable to touch a phone in order to send a text, check the web or even view the screen. This involves taking one's eyes off the road, and it could cause an accident even if a driver is using a hands-free device.
Whether or not they choose to use technology to help them do so, it is important for all drivers on Virginia's roads to pay attention. If they do not do so, and they cause an accident as a result, then they can be held financially accountable.