Louisiana residents who are on the road in any capacity for even a short period of time will likely see many people behind the wheel of a motor vehicle who are texting and driving or doing other things that lead to them being a distracted driver. This is a known problem throughout the country as 47 of the 50 states – including Louisiana – have prohibited texting while driving. A meta-study from the journal Human Factors examined cellphone use and driving. It conducted experiments to come to its conclusions and included other distracting activities, such as talking to passengers.

People who are talking on a cellphone are slower in their reactions and slower to identify hazardous conditions. Their ability to scan their environment was reduced and drivers did not look to the left or right or use their rearview mirrors as frequently when talking on the phone. If the driver was talking, they did not slow down or increase the amount of space between their vehicle and the car in front of them. This resulted in a rise in crashes with other vehicles, pedestrians and inanimate objects. Even drivers who used hands-free devices found their awareness diminished.

While texting and cellphone use is viewed as the biggest problem, drivers who engage in conversations with passengers are also more dangerous. This is partially worsened if the conversation is of greater intensity than casual chitchat. People who are talking to a passenger also experienced worsened reaction times, issues with staying in their lane and in maintaining a safe distance with the vehicle in front of them. As expected, dialing a phone is viewed as nearly as dangerous as texting.

The best-case scenario is and has always been that drivers will maintain strict attention on the road and not allow anything – cellphones, passengers or eating, for example – to distract them. A car accident can cause injuries and fatalities. A car accident can lead to people missing time at work, having long-term medical problems and needing financial and physical assistance for an extended period, if not their entire lives. The investigation into the crash is essential to determine if it was due to distracted driving. This can be a key factor in a legal filing due to car accidents and a lawyer can help.

Source: acsh.org, “Cell Phones And Talking To Passengers Both Lead To Distracted Driving,” Chuck Dinerstein, March 7, 2018