Thanks to public awareness campaigns and personal experience, most people are aware of the dangers of texting while driving. Studies show that an estimated one out of every four motor vehicle crashes involves cell phone usage. As many as one in three drivers admit to reading or sending text messages while driving. Using a cell phone while driving, whether conducting a voice call or texting, significantly increases the likelihood of a crash. Most disturbingly, nine Americans die in crashes related to distracted driving every day on average.
These sobering numbers should discourage most drivers from texting or reading texts while on the road. However, a study from Florida State University suggests that there is more to distracted driving than previously thought. The majority of drivers believe that if they put their cell phone away while driving and refrain from answering text messages that they are safe. Although it is commendable to resist the urge to send or read a quick text while driving, the study suggests that just hearing a cell phone notification or feeling the vibration can be just as dangerous.
A Look Inside the Study
Researchers asked 150 college students to react to a series of changing numbers on a screen. The team measured the subjects’ reaction time first with no distractions and then while receiving notifications of texts and calls to their cell phones. The results showed that the students’ performance on the assessment suffered significantly when the students heard cell phone notifications even though they did not read the message or take the call.
The research team surmised that this distracting effect applies to all types of notifications. This means that not only are text messages dangerous but also social media notifications or push notifications from games and other applications. When we hear a notification from our phone, a multitude of thoughts can cross out minds. Are the kids okay? Did my friend respond to my social media request? Is this a work-related call? We wonder who the message is from and if it is important or not. These thoughts may be as distracting as actually looking and checking the message or notification. Just the nagging questions in the back of your mind distract you from the task of driving.
Experts agree that the absolute safest thing to do with your cell phone while driving is to silence it completely – with the vibration feature turned off—and to place it out of reach. Your safety and that of others on the road is much more important than any notification from your phone.
Contact an Attorney for Help
If you have been injured by a driver whose attention was not focused on the road for any reason, you need an attorney who will fight to get you the full compensation you deserve. Contact an experienced Hartford personal injury lawyer today to discuss your case and learn more about how we can help you put your life back on track.