Unfortunately, one of the growing areas of motor vehicle collisions are those incidents involving “distracted driving.” Although people enjoy and even feel compelled to stay “up-to-date” by constantly reading texts or making cell phone calls, such technological advances are taking a toll on roadway safety. Although we have all heard and read about the dangers of either texting or talking on cell phones while driving, it is important to note that even in a supposedly “safe” mode of using a cell phone, such as with a hands-free speaking device, medical studies have shown that even speaking through a hands-free device can adversely affect a driver’s attention. Medical research based upon the brain scan studies has shown conclusively that our brains simply cannot focus on more than one task at a time. (Marcel A. Just et al., A Decrease in Brain Activation Associated With Driving When Listening To Someone Speak, Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging, Department Of Psych, Carnegie Mellon University (February 19, 2008.)
Recently, there have been Apps developed for iPhones and BlackBerry cell phones which when utilized respond to an in-coming text or a phone call when a driver is traveling at least 25 mph that the driver is driving and cannot respond. Groups are forming such as EndDD.org (End Distracted Driving) which provides education about distracted driving, including a Power Point presentation making it easy for lawyers to speak to high school students about the dangers of distracted driving. Another lawyer developed initiative – stemming from an Oprah Winfrey television program – asks people to pledge to not use their cell phones while driving.
Be sure to have a clear discussion with your teens and other family members who drive. Emphasize the dangers of distracted driving. Stress to them that even utilizing hands-free devices does not do away with the danger that such activity causes by decreasing one’s concentration on driving. It only takes a fraction of a second to miss a stop sign, run a red light, follow a vehicle too close to be able to stop in time or miss a child running into the street for tragedy to occur.
If you find yourself a victim of motor vehicle negligence, please visit my website and contact me at 847.956.0000.