Many Alabama residents have started to use hands-free systems for their cell phones while they are driving so they can stay focused on the road, but a study shows that no matter how people are using mobile devices, it could distract them from driving. There has been growing concerns about the number of car accidents caused by distracted driving related to cell phone use, and many people believe that it is due to taking their eyes off of the road and hands off of the wheel. However, researchers from the University of Utah have discovered that drivers using hands-free systems are still not paying enough attention to the road.
The two year study determined that even if people kept their eyes on the road they were sufficiently distracted by managing a mobile device through hands-free systems. It reduced their ability to notice visual cues and lowered their response time. Researchers gave participants in the study caps that were wired with electrodes to measure how they responded to distractions while on a simulated driving course. Based on the information gathered, the more mental effort tasks required, the less attention individuals paid to driving.
Inattention blindness was a huge issue in the study. Even if a driver saw something, if they were focused on dealing with a mobile device, it could take several seconds for what they saw to register in their brain. This could greatly reduce someone’s ability to brake or swerve to avoid a crash.
A lawyer could help someone who has been in a car accident collect information about the cause of the crash and determine who was at fault. An individual who has been harmed by a distracted driver may be owed compensation related to medical bills and lost wages.
Source: Washington Post, “Study: Drivers still distracted, despite tech advances keeping their eyes on the road“, Ashley Halsey III, June 12, 2013