Recently, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety published a report on the ways in which drivers can be distracted even when they appear to be looking out at the road and holding the wheel with both hands. The report found that one of the major distractions for drivers is the use of hand-free cellphones; these devices, which are commonly thought to allow drivers to focus on the road when talking, in fact place large cognitive demands on them.
Because so much mental effort is diverted to phone use, less of it is available for drivers. This could result in the following:
- Inability to react quickly; if the car ahead slows down suddenly, a light changes, or a pedestrian walks out onto the road, a distracted driver’s slower reaction time could lead to a serious accident.
- Less concentration or attention on the road more generally; a distracted driver may ignore traffic signs, for instance.
- Inadequate monitoring of one’s own driving; for instance, drivers immersed in a cellphone call may not notice that they’re speeding.
Hands-free cellphones are at least as distracting as the handheld variety. And, as reported by the National Safety Council, the rate of car accident fatalities related to cellphone use is significantly higher in Tennessee than the national average. In spite of some laws forbidding texting while driving, and a few restrictions on cellphone use for certain drivers, motor vehicle accidents resulting from cellphone use remain a serious problem. In fact, the number of accidents involving cellphone use may be underreported; it isn’t always clear if the driver was using a cellphone, and in the aftermath of an accident, many drivers of course won’t say they did.
When a cellphone isn’t a hands-free device, it offers additional sources of distraction; drivers have only one hand on the wheel as they hold the phone, or they look at the phone to text or dial a number instead of focusing on the road.
These accidents may lead to death or serious injuries that involve long-term damage. If you’ve suffered such an accident, be sure to reach out to Chattanooga car accident lawyers. When you contact us, we’ll carefully go over your case to try to determine who bears responsibility for the accident, and we’ll fight for you to receive just compensation.