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Does hands-free technology improve driving safety?

Although texting and driving can be a deadly combination on California roads, banning such activity does not necessarily remove all communication-related distractions. Many vehicle manufacturers have incorporated hands-free systems into their designs for facilitating calls and other activities on the road. Referred to as infotainment systems, some dashboards offer extensive touchscreen management of music, directions and other interests during a drive. Although a majority of drivers believe that these technologies are safe, safety is not implicit in their design. Anything that draws a driver's attention from the road could be considered a distraction, including on-board technologies.

The use of eyes, hands and the brain in texting and smartphone activities while driving can create particularly serious dangers. However, engaging the brain in a conversation can pull a driver's attention from the road and increase the danger of car crashes. While it may be impossible to remove every possible distraction, some employers have recognized the danger of any cellphone activity while driving, banning all related communication for employees who are on the clock.

Some distractions may be unavoidable as an individual drives. For example, traffic congestion can be extremely distracting, which can result in unexpected rear-end crashes. Car occupants can distract their drivers unexpectedly, especially in cases involving children as passengers. Young drivers tend to be more vulnerable to such issues, which can be addressed through restrictions on driving times and carrying passengers in the early years of holding a license.

An individual who has been injured by a negligent driver could deal with long-term recovery needs or permanent handicaps depending on the severity of the accident. In such a case, automobile insurance might fall short of covering the costs faced by the injured party. Litigation might be appropriate to deal with factors such as the inability to work or long-term pain and suffering.

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