The campaign to keep drunk drivers off the road — pushing for stricter traffic laws, demanding stronger enforcement and promoting public education — finally seems to be paying off. Nationwide, there has been a 52 percent decrease in impaired-driving fatalities since 1982. However, just when the roads should be getting safer, distracted-driving accidents are increasing, and the next round of dashboard technology is only going to make matters worse.
Many people were surprised by the results of a comprehensive study comparing different kinds of driving distractions released by the American Auto Association (AAA) last summer. Researchers measured various cognitive activities related to attention during simulated driving scenarios that involved various communication technologies. They then rated the risk hazard of each activity:
- Listening to the radio — minimal risk
- Talking on a hand-held or hands-free cellphone — moderate risk
- Using voice-activated email — extensive risk
While some automotive safety authorities are pushing for hands-free cellphone use over hand-held devices, the AAA study suggests that both these options are equally bad — but not as bad as the new wave of voice-activated devices that car manufacturers are already marketing, promising drivers continual access to text messages, email and their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
All drivers need to be aware that focusing your attention on an incoming phone call or tweet means that you have stopped paying attention the road ahead. If you are in an auto accident and you suspect the other driver was distracted, speak with an experienced Florida auto accident attorney about recovering the damages you are legally entitled to claim for your auto accident injuries.