Cambridge, MA- As motorists, we don’t think twice about carrying on a conversation with a passenger or even talking on the phone. There’s this perception that with both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, there’s no danger in simply talking. But that may not be true according to a recent study from the University of Iowa.
Study Finds Drivers Experience a Decline in Visual Awareness
A recent study conducted by the University of Iowa found that a conversation causes an “attention disengagement” lag which affects a motorist’s ability to focus on driving tasks, according to Iowa Now, a news digest for the University.
Researchers for the study used as computer to track the eye movements of study participants while they answered a series of true or false questions. Some of the participants were asked not to respond to the questions while another group answered.
The participants who did not respond to the questions noticed new objects in their field of vision sooner than the respondents who answered. It took the participants in the answer group twice as long to notice new objects.
The “attention disengagement” lag is just four-hundredths of a second, which doesn’t seem like long, but the effects are cumulative. Shaun Vecera, a professor at the University of Iowa Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and one of study researchers, explained to Iowa Now, “It’s a snowball effect,” and “eventually you’re oblivious to a lot that’s around you.”
Vecera says that talking on the phone while driving “slows your attention down.”
Similar research has found that talking on a cell phone while driving creates a sort of tunnel vision and causes a cognitive distraction.
Cell Phone and Driving Laws in Massachusetts
In 2016, Massachusetts passed a law banning the use of hand-held devices for teens, adult, bus drivers, and commercial drivers. Penalties for using a hand-held are $100 for a first offense and $250 for a second offense. Drivers cannot use a device to input an address to GPS, talk, dial, read or write a text message.
Drivers can use hands-free devices and onboard entertainment systems.
Speak to a Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer in Cambridge
Distracted drivers cause thousands of deaths and injuries each year in the U.S. Many things can distract a driver, but they have the responsibility to avoid those distractions and pay attention to the road. When drivers cause an accident because of distraction, they are responsible for the harm they cause you or a loved one. USAttorneys.com can refer you to a knowledgeable accident lawyer in Cambridge to make sure the distracted driver who hurt you covers your economic and emotional damages. You can arrange a time to talk about your case and learn why our team of lawyers in Massachusetts will be an asset to your case.