Smarter Driver: The truth behind handhelds behind the wheel
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Smarter Driver: The truth behind handhelds behind the wheel

Car Culture
[MUSIC] Dealing with mobile devices in the car has been approached three major ways. First of all, you've got the family of Bluetooth hands-free either brought in or built into the car and headset technology. Secondly, you've got ever-increasing voice recognition, both in the car and on the mobile device itself, to free and get your hands and eyes off of it And thirdly, you've got laws and public and awareness campaigns that use both stick and carrot to try to get you to do the right thing or at least do it in a safer way. Seventeen states currently ban any handheld use of a mobile device while driving. Forty-eight ban texting specifically, with only Montana and Arizona holding out. How's it all work? Well, the latest Department of Transportation research Indicates two things. The numbers aren't as high as you might think, and those numbers aren't changing much either. In 2013, the latest data available, researchers observed over 37,000 cars stopped for at least 10 seconds in traffic or at a light at almost 1,400 locations around the country. Drivers holding a phone to their ear has been observed to decline modestly, from 5.2% in 2012, to 4.6% observed in 2013. That's still about 620,000 cars at any given time during the day being driven by someone who has half their hands and at least half their mind on a call. The other interesting trend line is visible manipulation of a handheld device. Now that rolls up texting, email, entering a GPS destination, skimming Facebook, what have you. It's gone from .4 percent before the iPhone was introduced, to 1.7 percent today, or about two hundred and thirty thousand cars Cars, on US roads at any given time of day. It pays to double check your state's laws on handheld calling, texting while driving and handheld use at all. And follow them. There are so many technologies that make it easy to use now. It's just the right thing. And remember that even a small percent of drivers doing those things Adds up to the better part of a million accidents waiting to happen. More realities of modern driving revealed now at CNETOnCars.com. Click on smarter driver.

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