While many drivers have transitioned from cell phones to hands-free devices under the impression that it is a safer practice, research has recently come out to contradict some of these beliefs. In fact, using hands-free devices to talk, text, or send emails while driving can be even more distracting than talking on a hand-held cell phone, according to a recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study.
Every province in Canada has legislation that states drivers cannot hand hold cell phones or other electronic communications devices while driving. Research has consistently shown that a driver’s reaction time slows when distracted by using cell phones.
This new information is interesting in terms of how it relates to our own transportation law. While Newfoundland and Labrador prohibits using all hand-held cellular phones, our province has no prohibition on hands-free devices.
Other provinces such as British Columbia, Saskatchewan and the Yukon Territories do not let novice drivers use hands-free devices, indicating at least some previous acceptance that hands-free does not necessarily mean risk-free.
This kind of research should lead us to think – how can we adapt legislation in Newfoundland and Labrador on hands-free devices to improve all of our safety?