Across Tennessee, there has been a push to lessen distracted driving. People are trying to combat these risks with hands-free technology. But just how much does this technology actually do to improve safety?

The National Safety Council itself has stated that hands-free is not risk-free. This campaign slogan implies that hands-free technology does improve driver safety. In fact, there has not been a significant reduction in distracted driving incidents. This is in spite of claims that hands-free technology makes driving much safer.

Hands-free technology is risky because it is still a form of distracted driving. To drive safely, you must have your eyes and mind on the road and your hands on the wheel. Hands-free driving only addresses one of these concerns. Even with your hands on the wheel, your eyes may be on the screen. Even if your eyes are on the road, your mind may be on the conversation.

Other studies showed that conversation reduces a driver’s field of vision. Sometimes, the reduction can be drastic. When engaged in conversation, drivers reportedly missed up to 50 percent of what they drove by. This is like driving with half of your windshield or rear-view mirror covered. Needless to say, this is not the safest way to be driving.

The best way to avoid distracted driving crashes is to limit in-vehicle distractions. This includes keeping devices out of the vehicle or turning them off when driving. Unfortunately, hands-free devices are not a cure for the distracted driving epidemic. While they may help in some instances, you should not rely on them.