While teens are the most common texting while driving offenders, adults are becoming more prone to this deadly habit. Whether it’s text messaging via SMS, Blackberry Messaging, Twitter and Facebook updates, or sending and receiving email, cell phone use behind the wheel is a dangerous distraction. If it’s horror stories you need, just look up your nearest Las Vegas auto accident attorney; motor vehicle collisions of this nature have been on a meteoric rise in the last ten years.
Those opposed to new and pending legislation claim it is a personal choice whether to use a cell phone while driving. Drivers should be allowed to decide for themselves how their ability to multitask stands up to the road conditions of the day. But recent studies on multitasking have clearly demonstrated that it is not just a skill most lack – it’s not really a skill at all. Humans do not complete multiple tasks simultaneously. Humans switch attention between tasks quickly. Allow this to reshape your thinking about using your cell phone while driving. You are not texting and driving at the same time. You are driving, then you are reading a text message, then you are composing a response, then you are driving again. If you see this behavior in a driver that causes a motor vehicle collision, you should report it to your Las Vegas car accident attorney.
The danger isn’t just in mixing written communication with driving. It is also dangerous to simply talk on the phone while driving – even on a hands-free device. Scientists have demonstrated that while talking on the phone, the brain limits peripheral vision. This “tunnel vision” makes it very difficult to see a driver pulling out from a side street or a pedestrian attempting to cross.
Another phenomenon generated by distracted driving is known as “inattention blindness.” The brain focuses on the task at hand – the cell phone conversation, the text message, the email – and as it tries to refocus on driving, misses out on vital details – stop signs, stalled vehicles, pedestrians. Some tests have rated distracted drivers worse than drunk drivers.
Expand the definition of “distraction” a little more to include eating and drinking, applying makeup, reaching for objects moving within the vehicle, passing items to passengers, or driving with a pet on your lap. Now it becomes easy to understand what a problem distracted driving is in this country. Imagine all the tasks you complete during your morning commute – imagine the tasks that other drivers on the road are undertaking!
This danger and the widespread and growing use of cell phones is in large part the reason that lawmakers have been so adamantly working toward a solution. Is banning cell phone use on the road so much different from setting a speed limit or criminalizing drunk driving? A free consultation with a Las Vegas auto accident attorney would answer these questions for you.