Distracted driving is one of the biggest safety issues we face today. Distractions existed before the advent of smart phones and social media, they just weren’t as compelling. Eating while driving, changing the radio station, and talking to passengers are all forms of distraction, but they don’t elicit the same Pavlovian response as the constant dings of our cell phones.
According to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA), in 2015, about 3,500 people died in accidents involving a distracted driver and nearly 400,000 were injured. Pedestrians are also at great risk of being injured or killed by a distracted driver. Kids walking to school in heavily-populated areas should be taught to use extreme caution when a vehicle is approaching. Teach your kids to never assume that the driver sees them. A Boston distracted driving attorney can help you determine how to proceed if another’s negligence has caused you harm.
Newer vehicles are being designed and manufactured with all kinds of technology intended to improve safety. Unfortunately, some of these features may wind up doing just the opposite. There is a general misconception that “hands free” devices are safer than their hand-held counterparts. For this reason, most newer vehicle models incorporate Bluetooth technology, which allows the driver to talk on the phone without taking his hands off the wheel. But engaging in hands-free conversation while traveling 70 miles per hour on the interstate can be just as deadly as holding a phone to your ear.
27 Seconds of Distraction
According to the Chicago Tribune, a recent study found that the average driver remains distracted for up to 27 seconds after sending a text or e-mail. Even though you ended the distracting activity, it may take this long for your mind to re-focus on the task at hand. This fact also sheds light on another problem – sending texts and emails while stopped at a red light or in heavy traffic. People often think this is a safe alternative to texting while driving, but study results show otherwise. Any task that takes the driver’s attention from the road creates a risk. Even a viewer console screen intended to improve the driving experience can be a distraction. A MA auto accident attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured in an accident involving a distracted driver.
“Hands Free Does Not Mean Brain Free”
Distracted driving-related deaths and injuries continue to rise. Entertainment features, navigational systems, and technology that allows drivers to send emails and post on Facebook while driving are just a few of the new vehicle technologies contributing to this urgent problem. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, hands free does not mean brain free. The agency, which recently funded a study on cognitive distraction while behind the wheel, suggests disabling entertainment features and other distractions while driving. For example, most smart phones now have a feature that prevents the device from sending any type of notification while the user is driving. Ultimately, it is the driver’s responsibility to avoid the temptation to check text messages and social media while driving. But utilizing a smart phone’s driving feature may help. Continue reading