Legal Guide

We Need to Pay Attention to Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a leading cause of vehicle accidents. None of us are focused, all the time when we drive, but some of us are far worse than others. We can be distracted by kids in the car, adjusting the air conditioning, using an app to get directions, or making videos of ourselves driving. Depending on your speed, how close other vehicles and objects are around you, it might only take a few seconds of your mind and eyes being elsewhere to cause an accident.

Distracted driving is any activity taking your attention away from driving. It could be talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to another person in your vehicle, adjusting your stereo, or using an app. Distracted driving may be the problem or a symptom of a more significant problem. You may be fatigued, drowsy, angry, intoxicated, or impaired.

If you are sending or reading a text, taking your eyes off the road and your focus away from driving for 5 seconds and driving at 55 mph, you would be travelling the length of a football field while not knowing what’s in front of you. You can’t drive safely if you’re not focused on driving. Any non-driving activity increases your risk of crashing.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that in 2018 2,841 people were killed by distracted drivers. That number includes 1,730 drivers, 605 passengers, 400 pedestrians, and 77 bicyclists.

We think we can multitask. It’s what many of us think we’re doing at work, so we become comfortable trying to do many things at the same time. But we can’t. Human brains don’t perform more than one task simultaneously, according to the National Safety Council. We can switch back and forth between tasks rapidly, doing one thing – then another, so we think we’re successfully multitasking.

Because of our false sense of security, we take risks while driving. By doing more than one thing at a time, we may not notice what’s right in front of us. With more than one thing going in, the brain juggles focus and attention. The brain shifts focus, we develop “inattention blindness,” essential information falls out of view and is not processed by the brain.

You may see a red light, another vehicle, or a pedestrian in front of your vehicle, but it’s not registering in your brain. Very little information outside the task we’re working on receives a full analysis by our mind. Though our eyes are functioning, because of how the brain works, we are blind to many changes happening around us. Only by paying close attention to specific details can the brain analyze them and transfer them into the brain’s working memory.

If you were injured in a car accident, or injured in a motorcycle accident, there’s a good chance the driver who hit you was distracted. You should consult with an attorney as soon as possible so that you do not miss the statute of limitations which could adversely impact your ability to file a claim.

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