Most Texas residents are aware that using a cellphone while driving can take their eyes off the road for extended periods of time. To counter this, many people have begun using hands-free systems and voice commands for their mobile devices when they are on the road. However, a study done by researchers at the University of Utah shows that the distraction caused by using mobile devices, no matter how they are used, may still increase the risk of car accidents.
This is due to cognitive distraction and inattention blindness. Cognitive distraction is something individuals are generally not aware of, which is why some people will run a red light or a stop sign and have no recollection of it. When people’s minds are focused on something other than driving, it can keep them from perceiving what is happening on the road even if they are looking directly at it. Researchers also found that when compared to other distractions in a vehicle, speech-to-text systems were the most distracting.
Hands-free and voice-activated systems can also cause inattention blindness, which can keep people from registering a danger on the road, which slows down their reaction time. If a child runs into the middle of the road, it may take a preoccupied individual a few seconds to respond and brake accordingly.
Car accidents can cause enormous amounts of damage and physical injury. This can lead to enormous bills and lost wages due to the need to deal with medical issues and injuries related to a crash. A lawyer may be able to help someone ensure that his or her medical costs and vehicle repair costs are covered by an insurance company or the party responsible for the accident.
Source: The Washington Post, “Drivers still distracted, despite tech advances keeping their eyes on the road,” Ashley Halsey III, June 12, 2013