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Lake County, Ohio - Sheriff's Office

Ask the Chief ...

    Ask the Chief…..
    Is hands-free cellphone technology making it safer for talking and texting while driving in your vehicle and not being distracted?

                In short, no it is not. In recent tests using 360 degree driving simulators that were populated with hazards such as pedestrians, bicycles, and other vehicles, they found little difference in terms a safety and reaction time between people holding cell phones and those using hands-free technology.  In one test, of the 15 drivers using handsets (i.e. holding a cell phone); one passed the test, 5 failed driving the wrong way, and nine failed by crashing the vehicle.  Of the 15 drivers using hands-free technology (i.e. not holding a cell phone but speaking through blue-tooth or vehicle speaker systems); one passed, six failed by driving the wrong way, and eight failed by crashing.

                The reality is that the human brain cannot do two things at the same time, like holding a phone conversation and watching television.  The same is true when speaking on the phone and driving because both are thinking tasks.  As the brain switches back and forth between the two tasks your reaction time is slowed. Both are thinking tasks.

                Tests have shown that when talking on your phone, even using hands free technology, you can miss 50 % of your driving environment.  Using voice to text is often more distracting then hand texting since you spend so much time correcting auto correct errors. 

                Here are the inescapable truths about distracted driving:

    • 2.5 million people are involved in road accidents each year, of those accidents 1.6 million have a cell phone involved in the crashes
    • 37,000 people die in these accidents every year
    • 421,000 people are injured every year in accidents where the driver was distracted
    • 330,000 accidents annually involve texting and driving
    • Reading a message on your phone takes a minimum of 5 seconds.  At 55 mph this means your eyes are off the road for 5 seconds during which time your car will travel the length of a football field, missing everything your vehicle encounters in that distance.
    • When polled, 77% of adults and 55% of teenagers say they can manage texting while driving … this is a deadly false belief

                      That is why we recommend when you get in your car flip the switch and turn off your cell phone, your car phone, and other electronic devices that you have as a driver. Distracted driving is the major cause of accidents today, and actions such as texting and talking are creating more accidents, and larger accidents. When people who already follow vehicles in front of them too closely on our roadways look up from the text/message/posting/music channel there is not enough time to stop before a collision. The result is at a minimum serious car damage, and at worse significant injury and death.

    Save yourself and the ones you love today … just flick the switch!

    Frank Leonbruno

    Chief Deputy, Lake County Sheriff’s Office

    104 East Erie Street, Painesville, Ohio 44077




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