The Scientific Advances Journal published a study on distracted drivers on May 13, highlighting the dangers of texting specifically. The study surrounds what they coin as a “sixth sense”, the trigger that brings us back from the catatonic state many enter in long drives, sometimes referred to as “zoning out.” This zone allows us to change the radio station or daydream while staying within the lines on the road, and the sixth sense triggers when something abnormal happens. This sense however is distorted when eyes are taken off the road and focused on a tiny screen. It causes a glitch that keeps that sixth sense from being present, and results in delays in reaction time, even after our eyes return to the road until that sense ‘resets’.
This three million dollar study was paid for by settlements from a class-action lawsuit from the faulty Toyota cars, where acceleration pedals would propel cars forward unexpectedly. Conducted by the University of Houston and Texas A&M, participants were placed in a simulator that measured response time, stress, and even facial tracking. A mixture of set times to check their phones with random hazards on the road allowed the scientists to track how checking their phone affected their reflexes. A separate study by Virginia Tech Transpiration Institute found drivers double their risk of an accident when they are distracted from the road.
Despite the research, many lawmakers are hesitant to put forth restrictions on cellphones, with the phrase ‘Nanny State’ being thrown out to discourage it.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a distracted driver, contact the experienced attorneys at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling 713-396-3964 or toll free at 800-594-4884 for a confidential consultation.