The dangers of cognitive distraction on Florida motorists
Talking on a hand-held or hands-free cell phone while driving is a significant form of cognitive distraction, which can severely impair one’s ability to drive.

More Americans than ever before rely on cellphones to keep in contact with the world around them. Although many people feel perfectly capable of using their cellular devices while they are driving, statistics show that these distractive practices can dramatically increase the likelihood of an auto accident. Florida is one of 44 states in America that has banned texting and driving for all motorists, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. With evidence showing that talking on hand-held and hands-free cellular devices is also extremely dangerous, some Florida residents are wondering if the state’s distracted driving laws are strict enough.

A look at cognitive distraction

In addition to causing visual and manual distractions, using a cellphone while driving disturbs the motorist’s cognitive functioning. Whether a driver is using a hand-held or hands-free cell phone, engaging in a conversation can inhibit a person’s ability to perceive what is going on. In a report published by the National Safety Council, it is estimated that drivers who are cognitively distracted fail to see nearly 50 percent of vital information in their driving environment. Otherwise known as inattention blindness, this occurs when people try to perform two mentally complex tasks, such as talking on a phone and driving, simultaneously. The brain is made to continually shift focus between one activity and the other, which can result in serious problems.

Delayed reaction times

In addition to inattention blindness, cognitive distractions may result in a delayed reaction time when braking or responding to sudden hazards, including pedestrians, inclement weather, stoplights and obstacles in the road. The NSC evaluated over 30 studies that focused on cognitive distraction and how it can delay reaction times. They found that people talking on their cellphones while driving:

Showed slower reaction times when compared to drivers who were intoxicated with 0.08 percent blood alcohol content.
Caused a significant number of work zone vehicle accidents due to hard braking or failing to see a reduced speed limit sign.
Had problems staying in their traffic lanes.
Since it is still legal in Florida to talk on a cellular device while driving, these issues are readily present on Florida roadways.

When to call an attorney

People who have been involved in a distracted driving car accident may suffer from traumatic physical and emotional injuries as a result of another person’s negligence. Partnering with an established personal injury attorney can help to maximize your compensation. A lawyer can also help you explore all of your legal options during this hard time.

Keywords: distracted driving, accident, texting, injury

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