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Distracted Driving: The Downside of Technology

Posted in on April 5, 2018

With all of the advances in technology over the last several years, life has become easier in many aspects. Contacting friends and family, however far away, can be quickly done by tapping a screen. A smartphone even has more technology in it than the computers used to first send mankind to the moon. Information is at our fingertips. Multi-tasking has never been simpler. But these advances are not without their share of difficulties and issues.

Multi-tasking and the convenience of technology can be helpful in many facets of life, but driving is not one of them. Distractions easily increase the number of vehicle accidents on the road. In fact, 15 different states in the U.S.—as well as D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands— have made it illegal to use handheld devices while driving. Thirty-eight states have banned all cell phone use for teenagers, and 21 states have banned all cell phone use for bus drivers.

No matter what type of vehicle you are driving, handheld devices are extremely unsafe for the road. They require taking your eyes off of the road and your hands off of the wheel. These requirements, particularly when they are combined, add up to distracted driving and unsafe conditions for all drivers.

Instead of handheld devices, many drivers have turned to hands-free devices. But while no state bans all cell phone use for all drivers, it has been shown that using a hands-free device could be just as distracting as using a handheld device. In Dr. David Strayer’s study on the adverse effects technology can have on drivers, he found that, cognitively speaking, both are equally distracting.

What is often skipped over when talking about handheld devices versus hands-free devices is the fact that using either one requires a lot of the same brainpower. Hands-free devices may seem safer, but your brain is actually putting a lot of work into using a device. That brainpower should not be focused on operating a smartphone or any other type of touchscreen—it should be used exclusively for operating a vehicle. By taking away that much-needed brainpower, drivers turn their vehicles into weapons that could potentially harm others on the road.

It has been suggested that the impairments of distracted driving are very similar to the impairments of driving while intoxicated. In fact, the chances of a car crash are four times higher when talking on a cell phone while driving versus not talking on the phone at all. These odds are similar to the chances of getting in a car crash if you drive while drunk.

Despite all of this, drivers continue to use their phones while driving. During your daily commute, you’ll probably see several drivers distracted by their smartphones—either by texting or talking on the phone. But while distracted driving seems to be the popular choice, it should be avoided at all costs.

If you have teenage drivers, remind them to keep their phone in their pocket or purse to avoid distractions. Many apps and smartphone software even have the capability to shut off push notifications while a vehicle is operating. Regardless of how you do it, remind your love ones and yourself that driving while distracted is extremely dangerous. That text or Facebook post shouldn’t have to be life or death. It can wait.

Contact Bachus & Schanker, LLC today if you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident involving distracted driving. Our team of experienced personal injury lawyers will help you find the compensation you deserve.

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16884056

http://www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/cellular-phone-use-and-texting-while-driving-laws.aspx

https://www.allaboutcircuits.com/news/the-automotive-touchscreen-problem-when-user-interfaces-become-distractions/

http://www.apa.org/action/careers/improve-lives/david-strayer.aspx

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/talking-on-a-cellphone-while-driving-is-risky-but-simpler-distractions-can-also-cause-harm/2014/02/07/49675ce8-8cf2-11e3-95dd-36ff657a4dae_story.html?utm_term=.5635ee0f574e

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