The Chicago Sun Times recently published a story that reinforces the danger of driving while distracted-specifically, driving while talking on a phone.
There is little disagreement with the statistics that show that the dangers of driving while distracted by a cell phone. In fact, recent research shows that 97.5% of the population lacks the multitasking ability in the unique way required to drive safely while driving.
Interestingly, advocates for safer driving argue that the distraction is as dangerous regardless of whether the phone is handheld or hands free. This may comes as a surprise to many drivers who have often heard that hands-free phones are a safe alternative to chatting while behind the wheel. In fact many state and local regulations specifically allow hands-free phone usage, while disallowing using handheld devices-like Chicago.
However, the distraction created by the phone usage is only minimally related to the physical act of holding the device. Instead the problem is “inattention blindness,” where a driver mentally ignores the conditions of the road around him or her. When that occurs, a driver could be staring directly out the windshield but still have no real idea what is in front of them-their mind is something else. It is obviously at that moment that drivers are likely to run red lights or continue through stop signs
Jennifer Smith, the President of the advocacy group, FocusDriven explains, “There is no study out there that shows hands-free is safer. There are crashes where people were talking on hands-free devices and they killed people.” In both cases, a driver often sees only half of what is in front of them. That means that others cars, stop lights, walking pedestrians, and countless other parts of the driving scene are often completely missed by the distracted driver.
Our Chicago car accident attorneys at Levin & Perconti are proud to fight for the rights of the victims of distracted drivers. If you or someone you know may have been hurt by a driver who was not paying attention, contact a car accident attorney today.