Methods for Limiting Distractions Behind the Wheel
Although many of us have only experienced phone mounts in vehicles when using a rideshare service, these devices are becoming more widespread. For many, this may be a method of getting around Texas’ “hands-free” laws prohibiting texting while driving; others generally find it more convenient to have this easier access to their device in case of an emergency. Additionally, these can be beneficial when acting as a GPS.
However, as these become more popular for general use, the question of how safe they really are comes to mind. Are phone mounts reducing the risk of collisions caused by distracted driving or merely prompting drivers to engage in it more often? Read on to learn more.
Phone Mounts and Driver Safety
There may be evidence to suggest that phone mounts may help reduce distractions in some aspects—but they can’t be wholly relied upon to reduce distracted driving. One study published in the New York Times resolved that installing a phone mount near the driver’s eye level is a sound way to reduce the time your eyes are taken off the road. This also eliminates the need to look down and type or reach over for the device, especially considering that voice commands are accessible. However, this does not remove all dangers.
One of the potential downsides to having a phone mount is that it can, in some regard, disrupt your eye line and block certain areas of the road. As a distraction, this can make it easier for drivers to be engaging visually with the device by watching videos or staring at the directions.
It can also be a cognitive distraction in that every notification you receive will be directly in your face. Although there are options on devices like airplane mode or “do not disturb,” drivers may choose to be consistently checking for messages or other notifications. When driving at night, the sudden bright light on the screen from getting a notification may also visually impair a driver.
Where to Place a Phone Mount
Several states have laws limiting where and how to place a phone mount in your vehicle. California, for example, requires that mounts be placed on the dashboard, the driver’s side windshield but not extending beyond a five-inch square, or not extending beyond a seven-inch square on the passenger’s side windshield.
In contrast, Texas law dictates that a phone mount attached to the windshield and obstructing the driver’s view could be considered a misdemeanor offense. For your best chance at avoiding this violation, consider installing one on the dashboard or connected to the cupholders.
Alternatives to Phone Mounts and Other Phone Use
Despite the state law only dictating texting while driving, many cities throughout Texas restrict drivers from using cellular devices in any capacity unless in an emergency. Because of this, phone mounts may not be an option for many drivers. Here are a few alternatives to consider depending on your budget and needs:
- Upgrading to a vehicle with a screen compatible with your device (as these may have the same effect as a phone mount).
- Keeping your phone on “Do Not Disturb” or silencing it while driving.
- Designating a passenger to have control of your phone.
- Installing a GPS device.
Ultimately, doing what you can to reduce the possibility of becoming distracted by your device within the confines of the law can help make you a safer driver.
Austin Car Accident Attorneys
The team at Chris Morrow Law, PLLC has been serving the greater Austin community for over 25 years. We are dedicated to ensuring that your rights are protected following a car crash caused by another individual. When you have an injury, trust The Attorney That Works. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 512-641-5232.