When you are traveling north on I-55 in Southaven, heading into Memphis you know that it’s not a great idea to be texting while you are driving, but you might go ahead and do it anyway. You might not have a clear idea of how dangerous it is to divide your attention between reading an incoming text and focusing on the task of driving. Even if you are talking, using the phone hands-free while you are driving, might you still be putting yourself and the other drivers around you at a greater risk of getting into a crash? Even if you break the law and write, read or send just a quick text message or click “like” on a social media post, how much greater is the risk of causing a crash than it would be for a driver who has both hands on the wheel and concentrating on driving?
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a research study, Crash Risk of Cell Phone Use While Driving, to answer those and other related questions about how cell phone use increases crash risk. The issue of how using a mobile phone while driving increases crash risk has been tested and debated for years.
This study used data from the Second Strategic Highway Research Program Naturalistic Driving Study with a sample of 3,593 drivers. Their driving was monitored using a video camera in the vehicle and other data collection equipment for several months between October 2010 and December 2013. Researchers compared a driver’s cell phone use in the six seconds immediately prior to the crash and compared it to the same driver’s cell phone use in up to four, six-second segments of ordinary driving under similar conditions within three months prior to the crash. The study also looked at traffic and other environmental conditions and included 566 severe, moderate and minor crashes matched with 1,749 segments of ordinary driving.
The study did not just focus on measuring the dangers of texting behind the wheel. They also considered other visual-manual distractions including dialing the phone, browsing, reaching for and answering the phone while driving.
What did the study conclude?
The study found that the visual-manual interaction with cell phones while driving was associated with about double the incidence of crash involvement when compared to driving without distractions. The study observed variations in crash risk depending on the flow of traffic.
Visual-manual tasks that distract your eyes away from focusing on the road and your hands away from holding the wheel are the most dangerous and the ones most likely to cause you to get into a car crash. When a distracted drive causes a collision it is not an accident. It is a predictable outcome. Drivers who choose to play with their phones instead of upholding their duty to drive safely, will be held accountable when they cause injuries, property damage and death to other drivers.
If you’ve been injured due to a distracted driver’s recklessness or negligence, speak with a knowledgeable Southaven car crash attorney at Taylor Jones Taylor today. Our legal team provides comprehensive counsel to clients in Southaven, Olive Branch, Hernando and the surrounding areas. To learn more about our services, or to schedule a consultation, call 662.253.5193 or fill out our contact form to learn more today.