While Tennessee bans all handheld phone use behind the wheel, it does allow hands-free phones. The advantages of hands-free phones are clear, yet there is a danger here as well. Lytx, the video telematics, and fleet management software maker, has recently analyzed some 100,000 risky driving events among its fleets and has found that hands-free phones open up drivers to other distractions.
The good news was that hands-free phone use made up 65% of all phone use among the fleets in 2018: an increase of 27% from the previous year. In 2018, there were also 625,000 fewer risky driving events. However, there were 10% more incidents where drivers using hands-free phones engaged in one or more distracting activities like eating, drinking, smoking, or handling another device.
In fact, 23% of all the scored events in the study involved a driver engaging in multiple risky behaviors. One should keep in mind that distracted driving is a factor in thousands of car crashes. The brain cannot multitask that well.
As was to be expected, the drivers who acted in one or more distracting ways were also found to speed, follow vehicles too closely and neglect their seatbelts. Lytx discovered that most drivers start using their phones at around 65 mph: a comfortable speed where most turn on cruise control.
Drivers must keep control of their vehicles at all times, and when they cause motor vehicle accidents because they were inattentive, then they will be held liable. Of course, victims themselves may have contributed to a crash through their own fault. That means that if victims file a claim and recover damages, those damages will be lowered based on that degree of fault. To see if they have a valid case, victims might wish to talk to a personal injury lawyer.