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Cognitive distraction study shows risks of using hands-free technology

New York was the scene of 294,757 crashes in the year 2012, according to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.
 
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    January 11, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The state of New York has taken serious steps in the last several years to lower risks for drivers in Queens and elsewhere. Legislation was passed that prohibits all drivers from using a hand-held cell phone while driving in an effort to cut the number of car accidents taking place.

Distraction in New York

New York was the scene of 294,757 crashes in the year 2012, according to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. Over 123,000 of these crashes resulted in bodily injuries, more than 170,000 yielded property damage and 1,082 were fatal. Some form of distraction, including texting, using a cell phone and using a hands-free cell phone, was cited in over 51,000 accidents.

Just recently, WGRZ reported that distraction is likely the cause in a multiple-vehicle accident that occurred in Batavia. Two people were injured, one requiring air transport to a nearby hospital, after a vehicle was rear-ended and hit the vehicle in front of it. Law enforcement did not reveal what the source of distraction was, but ruled out weather as a factor.

Studying cognitive distraction

The American Automobile Association's Foundation for Traffic Safety released a report earlier this year on a cognitive distraction study. The study was conducted with the intent to establish a measuring scale for mental distraction. USA Today called the study the "most comprehensive of its kind". Researchers used equipment, such as sensors and cameras, to record the behaviors and brain waves of over 150 driver participants. Drivers were asked to perform the following acts:
- Talking on a hand-held cell phone.
- Speaking with passengers.
- Listening to an audio book.
- Using a hands-free phone.
- Sending messages with voice-to-text technology.
- Listening to the radio.

In order to determine the depth of mental distraction on drivers, researchers recorded data from participants who were solely focused on the task of driving. To gather a more complete picture of distraction, three testing environments were used - a driving simulator, an instrumented vehicle and a lab.

Findings of the study

When researchers examined the data collected, they discovered several things. One of the findings of the study showed that using the voice-to-text technology produced the highest level of distraction to drivers. This is in clear conflict with the promotion of such devices by automakers and the technology industry. Furthermore, the more complicated a task is, the more distracted drivers are.

Drivers, who are greatly distracted, scan the environment around them less frequently, are slower to hit the brakes and miss visual cues that can alert them to potential dangers. This means that even using hands-free technology can put drivers at risk of getting into an accident, and injuring innocent people. When people are injured by a distracted driver, they should discuss their case and their options with an experienced attorney.

Visit us at queenscaraccidentlawyer.org/



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