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Do hands-free laws prevent motor vehicle accidents?

Modern technology is meant to improve people's lives, and in most cases, that is exactly what it does. However, there are instances where the misuse of technology can endanger the person using it and others around them. Nowhere is this more evident than in distracted driving.

Fortunately, the state of Minnesota implemented a hands-free law late last year, prohibiting motorists from using mobile devices while operating a vehicle. Many studies show that these laws reduce the rates of motor vehicle accidents. However, some critics remain doubtful and say that these laws do little to prevent distracted driving. No matter where your opinion on the matter lies, what do the facts actually say and how can you keep your family safe?

Digging deeper on statistics

One commonly referenced report comes from the Office of Traffic Safety. It found that in the 15 states that use hands-free laws, fatal traffic accidents went down by an average of 15% for 12 of them. The study made sure to verify that drivers were still traveling about the same number of miles. If that wasn't the case, the reduction could simply be due to people driving less. 

Although this is a positive finding, critics say that it doesn't necessarily mean that traffic accidents dropped because of new distracted driving laws. They point to other studies that say that distracted driving laws may not be the primary reason in the reduction. Those studies say that there isn't conclusive evidence to prove the point one way or the other.

Are we still in danger?

One other point that critics of distracted driving laws bring up is about any kind of mobile device usage. Even when a driver uses a hands-free device, such as a Bluetooth connection, to talk on the phone, it can be a distraction. Some studies show that drivers who use hands-free devices have just as many accidents as those who hold their phone in their hand. Researchers say that the act of talking on the phone may be distraction enough to cause an accident.

If you or someone you care about has been in a crash caused by a distracted driver, these statistics and studies may offer little comfort. What is most important is that you have the ability to hold responsible parties accountable for what happened. Consulting an attorney who has extensive experience in handling civil claims relating to motor vehicle accidents may be the first step in the pursuit of justice.

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