Archive for October, 2014

Columbia Drivers Too Distracted to Drive Safely?

Driver distraction is increasingly a major cause of motor vehicle collisions. Many drivers are aware of the dangers of talking on a cell phone, texting or using other electronics while driving. Unfortunately, the solution that some motorists have come up with involves using hands-free kits or voice control. Recent evidence suggests that this is not a good approach to improving road safety and could actually end up making things worse.  

A personal injury lawyer knows that the only way to minimize the chances of a collision caused by distracted driving is to focus only on the roads. Our brains are not good at multitasking and drivers simply do not do an effective job of driving when they are talking to electronic devices.

Talking to your Electronics Can be Dangerous While Driving

Yahoo News reported on recent studies determining whether voice-controlled electronics were safe for drivers to use. The researchers looked at the use of in-vehicle infotainment systems by major car manufacturers including Chevrolet, Mercedes, Chrysler and Hyundai. The researchers also looked at the voice-control assistant, Siri, on Apple iPhones. Each of the different devices that were included in the study were assigned a distraction ratio between one and five, with one standing for the least distraction and five standing for the greatest amount of distraction.

Siri, the virtual voice-controlled assistant on Apple phones, did the worst of any of the devices tested. It received a distraction score of 4.14. On a simulated driving course, several motorists who were trying to use Siri to accomplish tasks were so focused on what they were doing with their phones that they ended up rear-ending the vehicle that was in front of them.

Out of the infotainment systems that were included in the study, the MyLink was found to be the most distracting of the systems. This system received a distraction score of 3.7. While the other in-vehicle systems performed slightly better than this one, all of the voice-controlled electronics were found to be more of a distraction for drivers than simply using a cell phone or a manually-controlled system would have been.

The bottom line is, it is not using your hands that causes the problem but devoting your brain energy to something other than the road. A recent article on Forbes discussed just how ineffective people are at multitasking. You are not able to focus effectively or accomplish your tasks as quickly or easily if you try to do multiple things at once. Further, people who are the most likely to multitask on a regular basis are actually the worst of all at multitasking.

According to Forbes, frequently trying to do multiple things at once can actually have a long-term negative effect on brain function. You become less able to filter out irrelevant information, less able to recall information, less able to concentrate your focus on one particular task, and less able to effectively change tasks. This could suggest that drivers who are the most likely to be multitasking and distracted are even more dangerous than initially expected since they are likely to be less focused in general than other motorists.

Contact Columbia injury lawyers at Matthews & Megna LLC by calling 1-803-799-1700 or visit Serving the entire Florence, Darlington, Columbia, Midlands and Pee Dee, SC area.