November 05, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Study provides in-depth data on cognitive distraction
New Jersey has taken strong action to discourage people from using their cellphones while driving, making it illegal for them to do so. However, cellphones are only one type of distraction for drivers in Essex County and a new study shows that even hands-free devices may not be as safe as they seem.
According to the New Jersey Department of Transportation, there were over 25,000 car accidents
that occurred in Essex County in 2012 with 284,062 happening in the state. It is unknown how many were caused by a distracted driver.
Measuring cognitive distraction
The American Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety recently held a study that was specifically aimed at measuring cognitive distraction. It is the most in-depth look at cognitive distraction, according to USA Today, and provides a better understanding of cognitive distraction. As the term indicates, cognitive distraction occurs when the brain is distracted. Most studies focus on what happens when a driver takes their eyes off of the road or their hands off of the wheel.
In order to measure cognitive distraction, the researchers of the study set up three different environments to gather data in. These environments were a lab, a driving simulator and an instrumented vehicle. The participants of the study were then asked to perform a task during the test. These tasks included:
-Listening to the radio
-Listening to an audiobook
-Talking to someone with them
-Using a handheld phone
-Talking with a hands-free phone
-Using a speech-to-text email system
Before engaging in these individual tasks, the participants brain waves were measured while they were engaged in the sole job of driving, focusing completely on the road around them. Then researchers measured the brain waves of participants engaged in an additional task as well as their reaction time, peripheral light detection, following distance and brake reaction.
Hands-free isn't risk free
The results of the study showed consistently that when a driver is engaged in a more complicated task, like using a speech-to-text system or a hands-free conversation, they were still at risk of becoming involved in a collision
or near-accident. Drivers were found to scan the road around them less which led to missed cues. The more complicated a task was, the slower the response time was for drivers to hit the brake or take some other type of defensive action.
The tests showed that drivers using in-vehicle technology were more distracted cognitively then when talking to a passenger or talking on a handheld phone. This indicates that vehicles with these kinds of hands-free features could put a driver more at risk of getting into an accident and injuring someone.
When a driver allows their mind to wander from the task of operating their vehicle, they put other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and passengers at risk. These accidents often result in injury which can lead to a loss of income, medical bills and pain and suffering. If you are in an accident and you have been injured, you have the legal right to seek compensation from the party at fault. Speaking with an experienced attorney can help you understand what your options and choices are.
Article provided by Bailey & Orozco, LLC, Attorneys at Law
Visit us at www.bolegal.com