At Pheffer Law in California, we represent many clients who have suffered serious injuries in car crashes. Often they tell us that the driver of the car that caused the accident was driving distracted, usually using his or her cellphone in some manner.
The National Safety Council reports that around 100 people die in a car crash every day, and distractions remain a a top factor in these fatal car crashes. With respect to cellphones, however, many people believe that if they use a hands-free device to make and receive calls and texts while driving, these activities will not distract them. Unfortunately, such is not the case. The NSC reminds you that your cellphone conversation or text itself represents the distraction.
The three rules of safe driving
Remember, the three ways you should drive include the following:
- Keep your hands on the wheel.
- Keep your eyes on the road.
- Keep your mind on your driving
Admittedly, using a hands-free device keeps your hands on the wheel. It does not, however, necessarily keep your eyes on the road, and it certainly does not keep your mind on your driving.
Shockingly, NSC research shows that at any given moment of any given day or night, a full 7 percent of drivers on the road are using their cellphones in one manner or another, either hand-held or hands-free. Given that this represents millions of drivers, it is no wonder that distracted driving is by far the biggest cause of car crashes.
Your brain’s ability
Bottom line, your brain cannot do more than one thing at a time. Despite today’s emphasis on multitasking, the best your brain can do is to quickly toggle back and forth between two or more tasks. It may shock you to learn that when you drive and talk or text on your cellphone, even hands-free, the part of your brain that processes movement decreases by up to 33 percent. Even more frightening, you can miss seeing up to 50 percent of what is around you when you talk or text on your cellphone.
If you use voice-to-text technology in your vehicle to send and receive text messages while driving, new studies show that this actually distracts you more than if you type in the texts the old-fashioned way by hand. But while all 50 states now ban old-fashioned texting while driving, few, if any, ban all forms of texting or even cellphone conversing.
Consequently, this leaves you in the position of being your own safety expert. While you cannot control other drivers’ driving habits, you can control yours. Never use your cellphone, either hand-held or hands-free, when you drive.
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