New Research Tries to Identify Reasons for Distracted Driving

Friday, October 25, 2013
It’s quite clear now that there are different forces at work that seem to prevent people from avoiding distracted driving at the wheel. It's also clear that much of the motoring public is aware of the dangers of distracted driving, and using cell phones at the wheel, but continues to engage in such practices nevertheless.

Several new studies are focusing on these forces, and what is it exactly that seems to prevent people from stopping such destructive practices, even when they're completely aware of the dangers of doing so.

The fact is that many people who use their cell phones while driving are aware that such practices can lead to an accident, but can't seem to be able to help themselves from reaching out for their cell phone.

Studies have indicated that as many as 95% of Americans are aware that using a cell phone while driving can be extremely dangerous, and increases their risk of being involved in an accident. However, an equally large number of Americans admit to using cell phones for texting or having a conversation. That means that many persons are habituated to using cell phones, and don't see anything amiss in reaching out for their cell phone to answer an incoming text message, or receiving a phone call when they're driving.

Obviously, this makes the problem of controlling distracted driving an even bigger challenge. It's not merely a question of simply educating people or making them aware of the dangers of distracted driving, because people already seem to be aware of the risks involved. It's important to understand how strong and ingrained these habits are among people, and how difficult it is going to be to break some of those habits.

Many Parents Distracted While Driving with Children

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A disturbing new study released by the American Academy of Pediatrics finds that distracted driving and the use of cell phones while driving is not only rampant among American adults, but also that many American adults are distracted by these devices, while they're driving with their children in the car.

The American Academy of Pediatrics study focused on 618 parents. Almost 90% of these parents admitted to several distracting activities while they were driving with their children in the car. The parents were given an option of 10 distracting activities, and were asked whether they performed these while they were driving, and most parents admitted to performing at least four of these activities.

These activities include using a hand-held cell phone while driving for a conversation, texting while driving, e-mailing, using a GPS device for directions, changing a CD, eating, grooming, and taking care of their child.

The most common distracting activity that parents admitted to indulging in was talking on a cell phone while driving. This is one of the most distracting activities you could perform, because it involves using your hand to hold a cell phone in the case of a hand-held cell phone, while the mind is completely focused on the conversation that you're having with the person on the other end.

The least common distracting activity was texting while driving, and that finding is not surprising to Los Angeles car accident lawyers, because there has been a lot of effort to educate people about the dangers of texting while driving in recent years. Those efforts seem to have had some success in reaching out to parents.

However, the fact that an overwhelming majority of parents admit to all kinds of distractions while driving, even when they're driving with the most precious cargo in their car, is very worrisome.

California Bill Aimed at Keeping Pedestrians Safer

Saturday, April 06, 2013

A new bill that was recently introduced in the California legislature is aimed at improving roadway divider safety on California Streets by removing panhandlers who typically walk these areas, asking motorists for money.

The bill, SB 674 would make a change to the California Vehicle Code, and specifically affects panhandlers who work at several local intersections. These people walk these areas asking people for money. It's fairly common to find these people standing at these intersections with a handwritten sign, asking for money, and hoping to make a few dollars.

However, according to law enforcement officials, this is a dangerous practice because very often, these panhandlers cross the street illegally or when there is a stop light. Los Angeles car accident lawyers know that all of these are dangerous practices, and increase the risk of an accident for panhandlers.

According to the promoters of the bill, the point is not to remove panhandlers from the dividers, but to keep them safe. In many cases, these panhandlers try to attract motorists by doing tricks, and this distracts motorists and exposes both motorists as well as pedestrian panhandlers to the risk of accidents. A motorist, who is busy watching a panhandler do his stuff, is likely to miss an important accident cue, seriously risking injuries to himself as well as to other people on the road.

However, the bill is likely to see quite a bit of a fight from civil rights activists as well as homeless groups. The panhandlers insist that they are not distracting or delaying traffic. If the bill is approved, they would have to move their activities to the sidewalk. Panhandlers as a group are likely to strongly oppose the bill, because according to them, it is impossible to make any money on the sidewalk.

Researchers Recommend Mandatory Auto Cell Phone Blocking Technologies

Thursday, March 21, 2013

California is one of several states in the country that have attempted to reduce the number of distracting drivers by banning both texting while driving as well as the use of hand-held cell phones while driving. However, it is clear to Los Angeles car accident lawyers, that these measures have had very limited success in reducing these practices. Two researchers from West Virginia University have a radical suggestion to eliminate distracted driving. They suggest that all automobiles come with cell phone blocking technology that absolutely prohibits motorists from texting, e-mailing, having cell phone conversations, and using apps on their smartphones while the car is in motion.

It isn't difficult to imagine that automakers will be able to come up with technology like this. Therefore, the researchers want automakers to invest in coming up with technology that will prohibit motorists from using their cell phone for any purpose as long as the car is in motion.

The researchers have the facts on their side. After all, there are statistics to confirm that distracted driving is a growing menace on our streets. According to the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, cell phone use behind the wheel causes as many as 333,000 injuries and 2,600 fatalities on U.S roads every year.

Other bodies of research also confirm the devastating effects of using cell phones while driving. According to research from the University of North Texas Health Science Center, texting caused more than 16,000 accident fatalities between 2001 and 2007. It is highly likely that those are conservative estimates. In states, where there is no ban on texting while driving or cell phone use while driving, it's hard to estimate exactly how many people are killed by such devastating practices.

More Than Half of Older Teenagers Admit to Texting While Driving

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

In a new study, more than half of all high school students surveyed admitted that they frequently text while driving. Approximately 58% of the school seniors in the study that was released by the federal administration confessed that they had texted or e-mailed while driving at least once during the previous year. Seniors seem to be at a much higher risk of such distracted driving practices than juniors. Approximately 40% of the high school juniors admitted to texting while driving at least once during the previous month.

The study was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and involved more than 15,000 high school students from across the country. The results of the study seem to present a much more frightening picture than earlier studies have shown. It's not as if Los Angeles car accident lawyers are unfamiliar with teenage texting while driving, but the extent of the practice is staggering.

The federal administration has released these statistics in time for the busy summer season, when more numbers of teenage motorists can be expected to share the roads with other drivers. That means more numbers of teenagers who have no qualms about texting or e-mailing while driving. Approximately 60% of all motor vehicle accident fatalities involve teenage motorists who are distracted while driving.

Teenagers have poor concentration and attention spans, and may be frequently distracted by a number of other things in the car like their music system, or teenage passengers. When you introduce cell phones and other electronic devices into the mix, it only increases the risk of distractions. A person who is distracted by his or her cell phone is much less likely to respond to an emergency situation. Reaction times are delayed when a person's attention is diverted in this manner.

California College Students at High Risk of Cell Phone-Related Accidents

Monday, April 30, 2012

A new study indicates to Los Angeles car accident attorneys that it's not just intoxicated driving that is one of the biggest killers of California’s college students.  This category of motorists is also highly susceptible to the risks of distracted driving.  The study finds that more than three quarters of college students talk on their cell phones while driving, or text while driving.

Approximately 70% of the college students reported that they engage in such distracting behaviors while they are driving a car.  That's not all.  Approximately 50% of the students also admitted that they frequently send texts while driving on the freeway.

The survey included more than 5000 college students from colleges in San Diego.  Approximately 60% of the college students said that they frequently send texts while driving in heavy traffic or driving on city streets, while 87% sent texts while they were at a traffic light.  About 52% said that they used hands-free devices some of the time, while approximately a quarter used texting devices frequently.  Only about 12% of the students said that they never used texting devices while driving.

There is a vast body of research that indicates that drivers are at a much higher risk of accidents when they are texting or using cell phones while driving.  According to some studies, the risks are fourfold higher when a motorist is using a hand held cell phone or texting while driving. 

However, that should not be taken to mean that using a hands-free set is completely safe.  Some studies show that using a hands-free set can be just as dangerous as using a hand-held phone, because of the distraction from the conversation that the driver is having. 

Many colleges in California have initiatives in place to discourage students from underage drinking.  This study indicates to Los Angeles car accident lawyers that similar initiatives are also needed to target distracted driving amongst students. 

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