New Study Reveals Why Distracted Driving Is So Much More Dangerous Than Previously Thought
According to a recent study, distracted driving is even more unsafe than previously thought. In 2021, more than 3,500 drivers in the US died in traffic accidents linked to distracted driving. While the primary source of distracted driving is the use of one’s cell phone, other dangerous activities at the top of the list include entering navigational information, eating, and engaging in other similar activities.
After the Task is Completed, the Driver is Still Distracted
Multitasking is at the heart of the problem: While it is obvious that the driver cannot pay attention to the road while they are performing a distracted task, the reveal from this study is that drivers’ ability to pay attention after they have completed that task is also hindered. In fact, researchers found that drivers’ ability to pay attention to their driving was hindered for at least half a minute after the distraction ended, implying that the number of distracted driving accidents could be substantially higher than current estimates indicate.
The researchers hypothesize that when a person performs a cognitive task (such as reading a text), they hold information from that task in their working memory. Your working memory is what allows you to do two tasks at once, such as remembering someone’s name while also doing some easy arithmetic, for example, and once a task is completed, the information isn’t purged from the working memory, but rather persists for some time, creating a kind of ‘mental clutter’ that can divert attention away from subsequent tasks.
We Are Bad at Multitasking, But Do Not Realize It
All of this ultimately points to what research has been indicating for years, which is that people, overall, are bad at multitasking – much worse than they believe themselves to be. If, for example, someone is working at one task, and then takes a break from that task to check their email, they experience a kind of ‘mental fog’ when they try to switch back to their earlier task, and this is likely because their mind was still holding onto details from the email.
What this ultimately means for distracted driving is dire; drivers likely underestimate the true danger of taking their eyes off the road and engaging in another task while they are driving, and for those who think they are avoiding distracted driving by engaging in that other task while stopped at a red light, in fact, when the light turns green, this research indicates that one’s mind is still occupied by that previous task.
Contact Our Las Vegas Distracted Driving Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed by a distracted driver, it is imperative that you speak with a Las Vegas distracted driving accident lawyer right away in order to ensure that you obtain the care and compensation you need to recover. Contact Cameron Law today to schedule a free consultation and find out more.