Most places have laws prohibiting the use of a cell phone while driving. However, these laws often do permit the use of hands-free devices, allowing you to still talk on your phone while behind the wheel.
This may seem as if it removes the distraction, but according to Science Daily, the distraction of your cell phone may be more about your mind than the physical act of using the phone.
Distraction in your mind
Distracted driving involves three aspects. The physical aspect is holding your phone and taking your hands off of the wheel. The visual aspect is looking away from the road to your phone. Hands-free devices help to eliminate both of these because you do not need to handle your phone or look at it to operate it.
However, the trouble is with the third aspect of distraction – mental. Your hands-free device cannot stop mental distraction. You cannot fully focus on the road when your focus is on making or managing a phone call.
Phone calls take focus
When you talk on the phone, you focus on the conversation you have with the other party. You may get so into the call that driving becomes secondary. You may not notice stop signs or obstacles in your path. It could delay your reaction times. You cannot fully engage mentally to drive when talking to someone else on the phone, and because of this, distraction still occurs despite the use of a hands-free device. The bottom line is that hands-free does not mean safer, and you still should not talk on the phone when driving.