Do Bluetooth Systems in Vehicles Really Cut Down on Distracted Driving?

bluetooth and drivingDistracted driving is becoming a huge problem in the USA. With more people unable to ignore their phones, traffic accidents are on the rise. In fact, texting while driving makes the driver 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash. While 93 percent of drivers recently surveyed said they would support a ban of handheld devices in cars in the USA, a shockingly high percentage of people have admitted to using their phone while driving. Bluetooth systems are available, but do they really cut down on distracted driving? Read on for more information.

What is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is when a driver engages in an activity that is unrelated to driving and distracts their attention away from the road. Distractions can be cognitive, visual, or manual, or a combination of the three. Visual distractions are anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road, such as reading a roadside sign. Manual distractions are any activities or events that cause a driver’s hands to leave the wheel, such as unwrapping a snack. Cognitive distractions will pull a driver’s attention and focus away from the road, such as a child’s tantrum in the car. As you can see, it’s not just technology that causes distracted driving. However, texting causes visual, cognitive, and manual distraction, making it especially dangerous.

How Do Bluetooth Systems Help?

Bluetooth systems do help decrease the risk of distracted driving. Bluetooth enabled headsets, GPS units, and even car decks are now available by high-profile companies such as Motorola and Garmin in order to help drivers avoid in-car technological distractions. Bluetooth devices still allow drivers to answer urgent calls or texts but in a way that won’t result in manual and visual distractions. Many products have voice recognition features meaning no touching is required and two hands can be kept on the wheel. The bonus is that clip-on Bluetooth systems are rarely over $100.

Many new cars these days are enabled with Bluetooth hands-free systems. With a system already built into a car, a driver’s eyes won’t have to leave the road for even a second.

Are There Drawbacks to Bluetooth Systems?

Research done at the University of Alabama in Birmingham has shown that Bluetooth devices cannot eliminate the risk of distracted driving. While Bluetooth systems can help reduce visual and manual distraction, they can still cause cognitive distraction; a phone conversation could pull a driver’s thoughts away from the road. No Bluetooth system can make a driver immune from being in an accident. The study suggests that the only way to eliminate the risk of distracted driving is to ban Bluetooth systems as well.

Studies from Virginia Tech have shown that when a driver takes their eyes off the road for even a few seconds, their chance of being in an accident increases by 80 percent. Your driver’s education classes might seem like a long time ago, the reality is that driving still requires concentration and vigilance. While Bluetooth devices can help eliminate distracted driving, these systems cannot prevent it. Common sense and caution must always be used when behind the wheel in order to keep you, and others, safe on the road.

If another person’s negligence while driving caused an accident that injured you or a loved one, you may have a case. Hardison & Cochran, Attorneys at law are personal injury lawyers located in Raleigh, North Carolina.  For more information regarding what to do if you have suffered as a result of a distracted driving accident, visit the website at