Distracted driving causes more than 3,000 deaths per year and more than 400,000 injuries. Safety advocates, scientists, and researchers have been working hard to find a way to reduce those numbers but have struggled to get drivers to understand the implications. But the results from a new study, and the development of a new safety alert, could go a long way in helping them make some headway.
Research Reveals Why Texting and Driving Is So Dangerous
Previous studies have indicated that distracted driving can increase a driver’s risk of accident by as much as ten times. Researchers from the University of Houston sought to determine the accuracy of those figures, and to see if one form of distraction was more dangerous than another. In an experiment that tested the driving habits of 59 drivers, the research team observed drivers on four separate routes on a simulator.
For the first simulation course, drivers were permitted to be fully focused and experienced no distractions. During the second course, drivers faced emotionally charged questions that were designed to heighten their emotion. On the third, researchers asked them cognitively difficult questions to distract them. On the final course, they were asked to text while driving.
In all distraction courses, drivers displayed jittery, jerky steering motions, but in all but the texting course, their trajectory remained straight. Researchers attributed this paradox to a function within the brain known as the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), which automatically intervenes as an error corrector when the individual is under stress and in danger. However, this mechanism would not kick in during texting and driving because it relies heavily on hand-eye coordination, which only further increases the risk of accident to the driver.
Study Leads to the Development of In-Car Alert System
As a direct result of their findings, researchers began to move toward the development of an in-car alert system that would serve as an accident prevention mechanism. Designed to pick up on the jerky motions that were displayed by drivers when distracted, the system would alert drivers when they are distracted or stressed. Unfortunately, it may be quite some time before it becomes readily available, and that means distracted drivers will continue to injure and kill innocent victims.
Distracted Driving Victim? Our Attorneys Can Help
Have you or someone you love been injured or suffered a wrongful death because of a distracted driver? Kinnally Flaherty Krentz Loran Hodge & Masur P.C. will use our skills, experience, and knowledge to help hold all accountable parties responsible. And, because we understand just how much an accident can have on your life, we will fight aggressively to help you receive the settlement you deserve. Schedule your free initial consultation with our dedicated Aurora, Illinois distracted driving accident attorneys. Call us at 630-907-0909 today.