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Texting and Driving Differs From Other Types of Distracted Driving

Aug 3, 2016 | Car Accidents, Personal Injury

Lots of different things can cause someone to become distracted behind the wheel. Some motorists are simply absent-minded and not focusing on what is going on. Others are upset while driving and may not be as focused on the road as they should be. Still others face distractions not because of their mood or internal turmoil but because of outside factors like phones and electronics. In fact, texting and driving has become one of the biggest issues, as texting while operating a vehicle can cause a major distraction.

Any time a driver is texting (or otherwise distracted) and causes an accident to happen, the victims of that accident should be able to pursue a case for compensation. A New York personal injury law firm can provide help to victims in getting compensation. In texting and driving cases, the fact the driver is texting in violation of laws prohibiting this behavior means it can sometimes be easier for crash victims to make their claim for compensation. Unfortunately, these types of cases are very common because – as new studies confirm- texting can be a lot more dangerous than many other kinds of distracted driving behaviors.

Distracted Driving: Texting and Driving Can Be a Bigger Risk  

Insurance Journal reported recently on a study confirming, yet again, that texting and driving can be among the highest risk behavior. Texting and driving was compared to other kinds of distracted driving, like driving while absent-minded or upset. The research revealed that while a “sixth sense” could help motorists react when they were distracted by certain types of things, it did not help to prevent accidents among texting drivers.

A total of 59 volunteers took part in the study, and were asked to drive the same segment of highway four times. One of the times, they were told to drive under normal conditions and focus on driving. Another time, they were told to drive while distracted with question that presented a cognitive challenge. A third time, they were asked emotionally charged questions while driving. Finally, the last time, they were asked to drive while texting routine pleasantries.  The order in which the volunteers did the drives was randomized.

Researchers discovered that drivers who were absent-minded, who were emotional, and who were texting all ended up becoming more jittery as compared with normal driving. However, while drivers were more jittery, only the texting drivers experienced things like significant lane deviations and other unsafe driving behavior. When motorists were only distracted by challenging questions or emotional questions, they were safer and had a more normal trajectory.

One possible reason for this is because the Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC) of the brain can automatically intervene if there is a conflict over where attention is needed. When faced with emotional and cognitive challenges, the driver faced psychological stress, which made the drivers jittery. However, the ACC intervened automatically to counterbalance the jitters and thus straight driving resulted.

Unfortunately, ACC needs support from the hand-eye coordination loop to perform its cognitive function. When the driver texts, the driver breaks the loop and no correction is reached.  Accidents are thus more likely.  If such an accident happens, Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff should be consulted for help.