Police say using hands-free devices while driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving

Hands-free devices as dangerous as drunk driving

In a story we broke Wednesday night on 23ABC news, 26-year-old Ashley Bell is now facing one count of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, for hitting and killing a bicyclist back in September.
 
Police say bell was talking on her phone using a hands-free device. 
 
Police say using a hands-free device cuts down on your reaction time when driving, and is equal to driving after drinking four alcoholic beverages.
 
"Impairment, distracted driving, deals not with what's going on with the car, but what's going on in your body and your mind," says Deputy District Attorney Michael Yraceburn.
 
The National Safety Council estimates that the devices are responsible for about 1.6 million traffic accidents per year, with about 330,000 injuries. 
 
Police and the district attorney are not releasing the details of the Ashley Bell case just yet, but say the hands-free device she was using was a distraction, causing her to swerve out of her lane, and hit and kill Tony Rumple.
 
"Was not positioned properly in her lane, so that's a good example of how minor movements in the roadway can cause serious consequences," says Bakersfield Police Dept.'s Sgt. Joe Grubbs.
 
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