Researchers meet in Orlando to discuss the psychology of distracted driving

Jul 5, 2012 Posted by in Distracted Driving, Motor Vehicle Accidents and Safety

Every year, researchers gather at the Lifesavers Conference to discuss the nation’s highway safety priorities. This year the conference — which is the largest gathering of highway safety professionals in the U.S. — was held in Orlando. And distracted driving was a hot topic.

According to David Strayer, a professor of psychology at the University of Utah, there are three parts to distracted driving: manual, visual, and cognitive. Tasks such as texting represent the manual distraction, taking your eyes off the road is the visual distraction, and focusing your mind on something other than driving is the cognitive distraction.

Determining which part of distracted driving causes the most car accidents was a large topic of conversation. Charlie Klauer, a researcher from Virginia Tech, found that the riskiest tasks are visual and manual, not cognitive. According to his research, talking on a cellphone (a cognitive distraction) led to some driver performance issues, but didn’t translate into crashes.

However, Anne McCartt, senior vice president of research at the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), found that drivers who use cellphones are four times more likely to get into an accident — regardless of whether the cellphone is hands-free or handheld. Her study examined cellphone records before an actual crash.

The idea of cellphones being a cognitive distraction hasn’t yet made its way into legislation. Most states have laws against texting while driving, but no state has a law completely banning cellphone use.

Florida still remains one of few states without any legislation regulating cellphone use while driving. Regardless of the law, our Treasure Coast auto accident attorneys urge all Florida drivers to stay focused while driving.

A Florida Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

The law firm of Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, has provided professional and compassionate legal assistance to car accident victims in South Florida and the Treasure Coast since 1975. The firm sponsors a Facebook campaign to help end distracted driving entitled Hang Up and Drive! We believe that distracted driving is a life-threatening behavior that can be stopped.

If you or someone you love has been injured by a distracted driver in Florida, call us today at (800) 299-8878 or fill out our convenient online contact form for a free consultation.

We serve victims of automobile crashes in South Florida and the Treasure Coast, including in StuartPort St. LucieFort PierceJupiter,  Palm Beach and Vero Beach.

 

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