Study Shows Texting More Dangerous Than Other Distractions
There were nearly 300,000 motor vehicle crashes in the State of New York in 2014 and 19% of those involved driver distractions or inattention. This led to 100 distracted driving-related fatalities. Needless to say, distractions like texting have a serious impact on the safety of motorists. A recent study has shown that our brains do a good job compensating for some distractions – but not texting.
The study was carried out by researchers from the University of Houston and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute who compared the performance of volunteer drivers as they faced distractions. Each of the 59 volunteers drove the same highway course four times – once in a normal, distraction-free state, and three times while distracted by common occurrences: text messaging, emotionally-charged conversations, and under cognitive challenges. The volunteers’ performance was markedly worse while texting.
Study finds “sixth sense” often protects drivers
In keeping with the growing body of research about the effect of distractions, the drivers’ performance in the study was affected in each of the inattention scenarios. Their steering became “jittery” in each case. Under cognitive and emotional distractions, though, the drivers actually drove a straighter path but they drove worse – drifting into other lanes – when texting.
The explanation may be found in a part of the brain known as the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), which is at the center of the “fight or flight” response. The ACC operates to offset the shaky maneuvering, so when the driver jerks to the left, the ACC leads the driver to also jerk to the right, maintaining a tightly-held path.
The difference between texting and the other tested distractions is eyesight. When the driver’s eyes are taken off the road, the connection between the driver’s eye and hand are broken and the automatic corrective measure does not take place.
Legal recourse for victims of distracted drivers
Driving is an activity that requires full attention. If texting while driving, our eyes are not just off the road, they are off the road for about five seconds – long enough to travel the length of a football field. Recognizing the dangers of distracted driving, New York bans both hand-held cellphone use and text messaging while driving.
The legal system also recognizes the rights of victims of cell phone related accidents and other negligence on the road. If you were injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation such as:
- Past and future medical bills
- Payment for pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Lost companionship
- In the most severe cases, funeral expenses and wrongful death claims.
NY personal injury lawyers
If you have been involved in a distracted driving auto accident in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Queens or Manhattan, The Sanders Firm can explain your legal rights and options.
The Sanders Firm is one of the largest, most aggressive, and successful personal injury firms in New York and has been winning compensation for victims for over 45 years. To arrange a free and no-obligation consultation with accomplished New York car accident lawyers, call 1-800-FAIR-PLAY. Resources
- University of Houston, A Sixth Sense Protects Drivers Except When Texting, https://www.uh.edu/news-events/stories/2016/May/051216PavlidisTextingStudy.php
- New York Department of Motor Vehicles, 2014 Statewide Statistical Summary, https://dmv.ny.gov/statistic/2014-nyscrashsummary.pdf
- Distraction.gov, Facts and Statistics, https://www.distraction.gov/stats-research-laws/facts-and-statistics.html