n 2013, distracted driving accounted for 167 deaths in Tennessee, according to the Johnson City Press.
Distracted driving accident lawyers in Johnson City know driving while distracted can significantly increase the chances that you will cause a motor vehicle collision. Before you decide that you are going to focus on something besides driving while you are behind the wheel, it is important to have an understanding of the risks.
Some multitasking behaviors are a lot more dangerous than other. As reported by MSN Money, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety observed study participants doing certain tasks while they weren’t driving; while they drove on a simulated course; and while they drove in a real-world setting. The researchers monitored the brain activity of the study participants throughout the tasks, and also monitored head and eye movements; braking responsiveness and following distance. The results showed how much of an impact different behaviors had on the driver’s ability to pay attention while operating their vehicles.
Distraction Risk for Common In-Car Behaviors
The AAA Foundation’s study ranked six different behaviors that people routinely do in the car. These included:
- Listening to the radio. Drivers were asked to set the station before they started driving and to keep the volume at a reasonable level. When they did this, listening to music as they drove was considered only to be a mildly risky behavior and not a major distraction to be concerned about.
- Listening to an audio book. Drivers were given a choice of three book passages to listen to and were given a simple quiz at the end to make sure they actually listened. Listening to the book was also found to be only mildly risky, although drivers were a bit more distracted than when they just listened to the radio.
- Talking to a passenger. To make sure that the research was judging the effect of the conversation, rather than hand gestures or looking away from the road and at passengers, drivers were told to keep both hands on the wheel and look straight ahead. Even so, talking to a passenger was still found to be moderately risky behavior since it was more distracting than listening to a radio or book.
- Talking on a handheld phone. This was also considered to be moderately risky behavior since it caused a cognitive distraction.
- Talking on a hands-free phone. Although hands-free phones are often touted as a distracted driving solution, this was also moderately risky and was not noticeably less distracting than talking on a hand-held phone.
- Using a speech-to-text program. This behavior was found to be extremely dangerous. The cognitive distraction actually caused inattention blindness so motorists who were driving didn’t really register the objects they saw in front of them.
The outcome of this survey shows that your best bet if you want to be safe is to stick to listening to the radio or a book if you have to do something besides drive while you’re in the car. Of course, to be as safe as possible, you are better off giving all of your attention to the road. If you are hurt in an accident when someone else fails to pay attention, it is also important to understand your legal rights.