The Hands-Free Debate

Is it safe to use a hands-free device to talk on a cell phone while driving?

  • Debate this question for three minutes with a partner or with teams taking each position: Yes, it’s safe or No, it’s deadly.

CONCLUSION: Portable and vehicle-integrated hands-free cell phone use still involves visual-manual subtasks, which are associated with a greater crash risk, and can cause drivers to miss the important visual and audio cues that would ordinarily help avoid a crash.

Think using a hands-free device while driving makes you safer? Think again.

  • In order to stay safe, you need your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel, and your mind on driving.

The facts:

  • An estimated 8% of drivers are using some type of phone (either hand-held or hands-free) at any typical daylight moment.
  • In a recent year, police reports indicate 3,179 people were killed, and 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
  • Engaging in visual-manual subtasks (such as reaching for a phone, dialing and texting) associated with the use of hand-held phones and other portable devices increased the risk of getting into a crash by three times.
  • Even portable hands-free and vehicle-integrated hands-free cell phone use involved visual-manual tasks at least half of the time, which is associated with a greater crash risk.