Can a Driver Using Hands-Free Technology Be at Fault for a Crash?

Posted on behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak

on September 16, 2022

. Updated on June 2, 2023


hands-free technologyHands-free technology, like Bluetooth, has encouraged some people to put their phones away when behind the wheel. Unfortunately, at least one study found that talking on the phone, even while using Bluetooth, could still distract a driver enough to result in a collision.

Call our car accident lawyers in South Bend to discuss your legal options if a distracted driver injured you in a crash. You may be eligible for compensation. We do not charge any upfront fees for our services.

Below, we discuss what makes hands-free driving just as distracting as texting and driving.

What Are the Hands-Free Driving Laws in Indiana?

As of July 2020, Indiana has a hands-free driving law prohibiting drivers from holding mobile devices in their hands. Mobile devices include smartphones and tablets.

There is an exception to the law, though. It states drivers may still be able to use their mobile devices so long as they are using hands-free technology.

Drivers caught with a mobile device in hand could face fines and points on their license.

Why is Hands-Free Technology Still Distracting?

There are many hands-free options for cell phones nowadays. Some of the most popular options include:

  • Alexa
  • Bluetooth
  • Google Now
  • Moto X hands-free
  • Samsung S-Voice assistant
  • Siri (or its alternatives in the App store)

While hands-free Bluetooth devices have helped significantly reduce distracted driving crashes, there are still some drawbacks. The reason a person uses hands-free technology is to do something on their cell phones while driving. However, hands-free technology still takes a driver’s focus off the road, even though a person does not have to look at the device.

For one, a voice assistant, like Siri, does not always register what you say properly. You can say something like “call mom” and she might think you are telling her to call someone else whose name sounds similar. This can be frustrating and require additional attention to get the phone to do what you want. A driver can take his or her eyes off the road for just a second to deal with this and a crash could occur.

Even if the driver manages to use the hands-free technology properly to call someone, the conversation on the phone can be just as distracting as texting. This is because you cannot give 100 percent of your attention to more than one thing at a time.

GPS apps such as Google or Apple Maps can also be distracting, even when the driver is not holding the device in his or her hands. Drivers use a GPS when they do not know where they are going. Constantly looking at the device to know where to turn (even with the voice activation on) can be extremely distracting. Drivers unfamiliar with an area are more likely to cause a collision while using a GPS device.

A driver who is guilty of any type of distracted driving could be liable for damages if a crash occurs. This includes drivers who cause a collision while using hands-free technology.

How is Distracted Driving Proven if Hands-Free Tech is Used?

In most distracted driving accident cases, eyewitness testimony may help to prove someone was using his or her phone before the crash occurred. However, if the driver was using hands-free technology, it may be more challenging to prove with just the testimony from a witness.

Your attorney may be able to get access to the driver’s phone records to determine if he or she was on the phone at the time of the crash. Phone records may only be accessed if the at-fault driver voluntarily provides them or if your attorney files a lawsuit. Your attorney can request access to the records during the discovery process.

An accident reconstructionist may also be called upon to examine vehicle damage and other evidence that could help to prove the driver was distracted moments before the crash.

Injured By a Distracted Driver? Call Us Today

If a distracted driver injured you, you have the right to pursue compensation for your damages. Our attorneys are prepared to help you throughout the entire legal process.

We have the resources and staff to investigate your claim. We also understand what evidence is needed to establish a driver was distracted by hands-free technology or something else.

Call (574) 444-0741 to schedule a free consultation.

Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak

Serious Attorneys for Serious Cases