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Hands-free devices are not safer for drivers, experts claim

You've likely heard about "hands-free laws" mandating that drivers do not use handheld devices while driving. New York law says that you're not allowed to drive and use any electronic device that you must hold -- like a cellphone.

Some experts say these laws are a waste of time.

The argument that they make isn't that using devices to talk is safe, but just the opposite. They claim talking on the phone is a distraction, it is dangerous, and it can cause accidents. They just don't think that the hands-free laws go far enough.

The problem, they claim, is that these laws act like holding onto your phone is the issue. They say that's not really the problem. The true issue is that talking is a mental distraction. It keeps you from thinking about driving. Your mind is on your conversation, not the road.

That's what really makes a crash more likely. You don't go through a red light because you only have one hand on the steering wheel and you can't stop. You go through a red light because you're thinking about what your boss or spouse or best friend is telling you on the phone, and you don't even see the light. That's true with a hand-held device or a hands-free device.

As this shows, even when people technically follow the law, they could still be distracted and cause a serious accident. If you're hit, you could be facing thousands of dollars in medical bills and lost wages. You need to know if you have a right to financial compensation.

Source: Scientific American, "Hands-Free Texting Is No Safer to Use While Driving," David Pogue, accessed Aug. 03, 2017

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