According to a recently released study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, contrary to what many individuals might believe, motorists are incapable of safely performing both the various tasks necessary to safely operate a vehicle while engaging in another activity such as talking on the phone or texting.
The study, entitled “Measuring Cognitive Distraction in the Automobile,” sought to establish a method by which researchers could measure and understand “cognitive distraction” in motor vehicles by performing various experiments designed to assess the effect distractions had on the ability of participants to effectively operate a motor vehicle.
The study concluded that, as drivers were exposed to increased mental workload and distractions, their reaction time slowed significantly and their brain function became compromised. The detrimental effects of increased distractions resulted in driver’s scanning the road less and missing visual cues.
The study’s findings seem to debunk many motorists’ long-held belief that the use of hands-free technology to talk or text eliminates much of the danger associated with distracted driving. The study’s results indicate that the mental distractions caused by talking or texting are present even when motorist are able to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
According to Gail Weinholzer, a AAA representative, a survey conducted by AAA found that “71% of all drivers believed that hands-free is risk-free and 50% of all drivers believed infotainment systems are not distracting. Both of those statistics could not be further from the truth.”
As this blog has discussed before, distracted driving is a serious problem plaguing Florida’s roadways. Of the more than 170,000 crash reports filed in Florida during the first ten months in 2011, over 100 involved motorists that were texting at the time of the accident.
Further, according report published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2009, 5,474 people were killed on U.S. roadways and another 448,000 were injured in motor vehicle accidents that reportedly involved distracted drivers. In distracted driving crashes that resulted in a death, 995 involved a cell phone as the distraction, and, of those accidents resulting in injury, more than 24,000 involved a cell phone.
The State of Florida has recently taken steps to curb the negative consequences of distracted driving, as Governor Rick Scott recently signed a bill banning motorists from texting-while-driving. The ban makes Florida the forty-first state to enact such prohibitions on the use of cell phones while driving. Although the ban on texting-while-driving may result in a decrease in distracted driving, the AAA study demonstrates that it will continue to be problem as long as motorists persist in using technological devices while operating their vehicles.
If you, your family or friends have been involved an accident in which you sustained injuries at the hands of a distracted driver, you may need legal representation to protect your right to compensation. The attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. have extensive experience representing individuals who have been injured by in motor vehicle accidents. If you or someone you know has been injured in automobile accident the Miami contact a car accident lawyer at Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. today.