Study Shows Just Knowing You Have a Text Message Can Distract Your Driving

Cell phone ring and vibration can cause distraction for drivers.

A new study recently published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology (called Human Perception and Performance) shows that hearing your mobile phone ring or feeling it vibrate while driving is just as distracting as sending as texting or talking.

We all know already how dangerous it is to text or talk while driving. This study is significant because it is the first to show that even being aware of a message or a missed can be a dangerous distraction when driving.

Researchers wrote in the study that they are shocked to learn just how much something so simple can be so distracting to drivers. Although a ringing or vibrating phone is a short distraction, it requires the driver’s mind to wander from the task of driving, even when their eyes may still be on the road.

Lead author of the study, Cary Stothart, stated in a news release that,

Even a slight distraction can have severe, potentially life-threatening effects if that distraction occurs at the wrong time.

Participants in the study performed a computer task while there were no distractions, and again when they received calls or text message alerts on their cellphones. The study showed that the participants made about three times as many mistakes on the computer task when they were distracted.

It only takes a split second to be physically or cognitively distracted for tragedy to occur, so the best solution for cell phone distraction altogether is to turn off phones and put them away when driving.

Source: HealthDay News

 

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Distracted Driving Shatters Lives

Distracted Driving Kills Innocent Victims

Know the True Dangers

With car crashes being the leading cause of unintentional deaths in the United States, it is imperative to show how distracted driving shatters lives so everyone can fully understand the risks faced while on the road.  Driving deserves the driver’s full attention because many lives are on the line while traveling on back roads, highways and interstates. There are many distractions that a driver may encounter while behind the wheel, but the leading one today is texting.

More than 70 percent of adults and teens have admitted to texting while driving. Research shows that the average driver takes their eyes off the road five seconds while texting. While five seconds doesn’t seem long at all, it is long enough to result in an accident that can shatter lives. As an example, if a car is traveling at 55 mph, five seconds gives them enough time to travel the length of a football field, according to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI).

Data released by VTTI also shows that drivers who become involved in visual-manual sub-tasks, which include texting, dialing or reaching for a phone, are three times more likely to get into a crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported in 2012 that 11% of all drivers younger than 20 who were involved in fatal crashes that year were reportedly distracted during the crash.

States Enacting Laws

Many states have enacted laws that crack down on distracted driving, and more efforts are underway to promote the awareness of the dangers. The NHTSA reports everyday more than 1,060 people being injured and more than 9 people being killed in crashes on U.S. roadways in accidents that involve a distracted driver. These are injuries that could be prevented and lives that could be saved if the message just gets out detailing the actual dangers.

There are three main kinds of distracted driving – visual, manual and cognitive, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Visual involves taking one’s eyes off the road, manual means taking one’s hands off the steering wheel, and cognitive involves taking your mind off what you are doing … driving. The instances of distracted driving in the U.S. are much greater than those reported across Europe.

Powerful Public Service Announcement

Several European countries have launched successful distracted driving campaigns that feature public service announcements aired on public television that show violent crashes resulting from distracted driving that involve serious injury and death. Because it seems as though those graphic ads have proven effective, the U.S. has now followed suit. The new ad campaign is kicking off National Distracted Driving Month.

The new PSA, which was done by The Tombras Group, targets teens. It is short and gets straight to the point while showing a car filled with happy teens driving down the highway up until the point where the driver gets a text message as the car is nearing an intersection. Of course, she darts her eye from the road for just a second, but that is long enough to run a stop sign and go directly into the path of another vehicle.

Perhaps those who view the new ad will wake up and become aware of the dangers of distracted driving. It is definitely riveting. With the theme, “U drive. U text. U pay.” hopefully teens will get the message. For more information on what you can do to end distracted driving, visit JustPutitDown.com, my campaign to end this senseless act. Take the pledge and grab a free EBook to share with family and friends.

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Texting and Driving Research Points Finger at Adults, Not Teens

 

Though teens have had the spotlight as reckless distracted drivers, research now suggests that adults seem to be texting and driving just as much. Teens have been the subject of many campaigns about safe driving and distracted driving habits, but new research says that adults might be more to blame than previously thought.

Distracted driving behavior has received a lot of attention lately as lawmakers look for ways to make it safer for everyone on the road. Teen drivers have a disproportionate number of accidents on the road, and their reliance on cell phones and text messaging has earned them a reputation as some of America’s most dangerous drivers.

Just How Dangerous Is Distracted Driving?

According to research from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, driving distracted reduces a vehicle operator’s ability to take in the road and respond quickly to developing situations, like traffic. Engaging in visual-manual subtasks (an umbrella which covers texting, dialing, and even reaching for the phone) increases a driver’s likelihood of getting into an accident by as much as three times.

In the study, text messaging and browsing the internet resulted in the longest period during which drivers took their eyes off the road. For those drivers who were text messaging, they, on average, took their eyes away from the road for about 23 seconds total. Even portable hands-free devices that used visual-manual tasks at least half the time (like dialing a number from a vehicle dashboard) increased a driver’s chances of an accident.

Even the act of reaching for the phone or pressing the “end call” button force a driver to pull his or her attention away from the road. During that time, the driver could even lose control of the vehicle or hit another car, pedestrian, or biker. The risk of serious accidents as a result of texting is part of the reason that many states have instituted bans on texting and driving.

What About Adults?

Research from AT&T shows that adults may be more to blame than teenagers when it comes to texting. While nearly all adults (98 percent) admit that they know the behavior is wrong, only half of teenagers indicated that they were aware the behavior was wrong, dangerous, or illegal. Currently, 39 states forbid texting and driving by all drivers, but a handful of other states ban the practice for new drivers alone. This new research shows that texting and driving is dangerous for everyone.

There are about 10 million teen drivers on the road, but there are 180 million adult drivers sharing those same roads. Studies from the Centers for Disease Control show that as many as one-third of those adult drivers have admitted to texting or browsing the web while operating a vehicle.

The Sad Statistics

Every day, nine people are killed and over 1,000 individuals are injured in accidents where distracted driving was a critical component of the incident. While the government doesn’t specifically track crashes that occurred as a result of texting and driving, it’s still considered the most dangerous distraction activity on the road. That’s because texting requires the hands, the mind, and the eyes, leaving little attention on the driving situation.

I am Kay Van Wey of Van Wey Law, and I am committed to eliminating this activity that is taking so many lives needlessly. My campaign, Just Put it Down, urges teens and adults to take a pledge and promise to put phones down when behind the wheel. It’s just not worth it. Visit www.JustPutitDown.com with your family members and take a pledge that takes less than 30 seconds, but could save a life.

 

 

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A Cultural Shift is Needed to Curb Distracted Driving Epidemic

Lexblog Interview with attorney Kay Van Way

Kay Van Wey urges citizens to pledge against distracted driving

The campaigns and other efforts that attempt to stop distracted driving are helpful. But Kay Van Wey believes, and statistics are showing, these campaigns are simply not enough. She states in her interview with Lexblog that,

“…despite that, there are still over 3,300 deaths each year and over 400,000 injuries from all distracted driving incidents. 1 in 10 are involving pedestrians.”

Kay Van Wey’s Just Put it Down campaign urges citizens to take a pledge against distracted driving. What is really needed, according to Van Wey, is a change in thinking. When driving, we need to place our focus on the road, put the cell phones down, and realize being in touch with others is not as important as being safe on the roads.

Here is the video clip of Van Wey’s excellent points about a major cultural shift that can change lives:

Join Texas attorney Kay Van Wey by taking the Just Put it Down pledge with your friends and family. You too can make a positive impact.

 

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Pedestrian on Bike Struck by Distracted Driver

Texas distracted driving attorney Kay Van Wey is passionate about ending the senseless injuries and deaths that are caused by cell phone use while driving. She is asking everyone to visit her website, JustPutitDown.com, and join her in this battle by taking a quick pledge.  Commit to putting your phone away while driving…Every pledge counts, and every life is worth saving from this senselessness.

With all the awareness efforts, shocking statistics and lives lost from distracted drivers using cell phones, it would seem people would begin putting their phones down. Unfortunately, they’re still taking their chances with their own lives and the lives of others.

Corky Rawdon from Farmer’s Branch, Texas is one of the most recent victims of distracted driving.

Corky Rawdon is feeling pretty lucky these days…

He was out on a nice day enjoying a bike ride near his home when, out of nowhere, a white SUV rear-ended him. The driver, who said he was looking at his phone for directions, was given a ticket and sent on his way.

Corky was riding on the right hand side of Valley View Lane, near Oren Good Park when he was rear-ended. He merely remembers being on the ground and trying to move his arms and legs, hoping he wasn’t paralyzed. He was very lucky. His demolished $5,000 racing bike lay nearby on the ground.

Michael Allen Pete, the driver, got out of his 2003 GMC Envoy and repeatedly apologized to Rawdon, admitting that he was, “…looking down and didn’t look up in time. According to James MacPhail, the Farmer’s Branch investigating police officer, Pete was late to a soccer game he had planned on refereeing.

MacPhail wrote in the accident report that Pete was looking down at his cell phone GPS while travelling 35 mph, and looked back up at the road only to notice the driver too late. He struck Rawdon, causing injury.

“Driver of Unit 1 reports that he was traveling at 35 mph and became distracted by his cell phone GPS,” MacPhail wrote in the accident report. “Driver glanced down to view the phone and as he looked back at the road, he saw the cyclist. Unit 1 struck the cyclist causing injury.”

Pete was cited on the scene for failure to produce proof of insurance and sent on his way. Rawdon stated in a recent interview that he had not seen or heard from the driver.

Rawdon was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital by ambulance and suffered a cracked vertebra in his lower back.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, cell phone use was a contributing factor in over 3,000 vehicle crashes in 2012. An estimated 35 “fatality crashes” in that same year were related to cell phone use. Over 1,300 crashes produced injuries. According to experts, the actual numbers are much higher.

In Texas, this is what must happen in order for an officer to list a cell phone as a contributing factor:

  1. The officer must see the driver using the phone, or
  2. The driver must admit to using a cell phone.

Pete did admit using his cell phone when the accident occurred, allowing officers to include it in their report. Knowing how difficult it must be for either of these actions to occur, it’s not hard to imagine how many cases we truly never hear about.

Where Does Texas Stand?

  • 41 states have banned texting while driving, but Texas has not as of yet.
  • In Texas, it is against the law to use a cell phone in school zones or if you are under 18 years of age.
  • 24 cities have passed ordinances banning various forms of cell phone use while driving, mostly texting.
  • El Paso is the only city who has banned cell phone use altogether while driving.
  • Arlington and Grand Prairie have passed ordinances making texting while driving a ticketable offense, but are allowing dash-mounted GPS units.
  • Dallas has not taken any action yet.

City officials on the scene believe the problem is getting worse. (Source: dallasnews.com)

Do Your Part, Take the Pledge

Where do you stand on cell phone use while operating a motor vehicle? Are you willing to put your phone down? Make a commitment by joining Texas distracted driving attorney Kay Van Wey of Van Wey Law in taking the “Just Put it Down” pledge. She is doing her part to decrease the problem, and every pledge makes a difference.

If you become injured or a loved one suffers fatal injuries due to a car accident involving a distracted driver, call Van Wey Law for a free consultation. If you are seriously injured, you may be able to receive compensation for your medical bills, pain, and suffering.

Cyclist Suffers Broken BackFor more information on protecting yourself or a loved one who has been involved in a car accident, grab Kay’s free ebook resource, Ultimate Guide for Texas Car Accident Victims.  When you’ve been seriously injured due to another’s negligence, it’s important to have an experienced accident attorney on your side.

Important Tips for How to Protect Yourself after a Texas Car Accident

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Texting and Driving, A Deadly Combination

Texting and Driving KillsThe Real Truth

Texting and driving has become a significant problem for drivers.  There are many reasons car accidents occur due to negligence in Texas, as well as other states.  Primary concerns in the recent past to watch out for on the roads have been drunk drivers, low seat belt use, speeding, fatigued drivers, and inexperienced or distracted teen drivers.  It may surprise you to know that today, the distraction of cell phone use accounts for nearly 25% of all crashes (NHTSA).  Drivers engaged in cell phone use, which is not limited to texting, but includes internet use, as well as use of GPS navigation systems, are four times more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident.

What are the Laws in Texas?

Unfortunately, Texas does not ban texting while driving for all of its citizens, but these bans are in place today:

  • Bans on all cell phone usage (handheld and Hands-free) for bus drivers (Primary law)
  • Bans on all cell phone usage (handheld and Hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary law)
  • Bans on texting for novice drivers (Primary law)
  • Bans texting for bus drivers (Primary law)Bans for all citizens of Texas on hand-held phones and texting in school zones… New drivers, bus drivers, and all drivers in school zones are prohibited by law to use cell phones for any reason.

Note: In Texas bus driver laws pertain to bus drivers with passengers age 17 and under. Novice drivers are defined as all drivers at the intermediate stage, first 12 months. (Distraction.gov) 

I am safe talking hands free, Right?

Wrong!  Cell phones cause a visual distraction, obviously, but even more significant is the mental, or cognitive, distraction they create.  Cell phones can cause distracted drivers to take their minds off of what they should be solely focused on…the primary task of driving!  Drivers talking on cell phones miss half of the information in their surroundings.  This could include objects, other cars, exits, and red lights.  This places your life and your property in danger, should you be around a negligent driver on a cell phone.

Consequences

Many lawsuits in recent years have held employers liable for employees who have crashed while using cell phones.  These are only a small handful of lawsuits brought against employers from cell phone use resulting in negligent driving:

  • $21.6 million- Ohio Technology Company
  •  $18 million- Alabama Trucking Company
  •  $16.1 million- Arkansas Lumber Distributor
  •  $5.2 million- Georgia Paper Company
  •  $5 million- Georgia Construction Company

(source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the New England Journal of Medicine)

Because of these events, most businesses in Texas have banned employees from using cell phones while driving altogether.  The National Safety Council® recommends for businesses to record a voice mail telling callers they are driving at the moment, and that it is not safe to make or receive calls while driving.

What should I do if I’m hit by a distracted driver?

Should you be unfortunate enough to become injured in an automobile accident by distracted cell phone user, you should know your rights, and seek the advice of an attorney immediately.  If you believe you have been struck by a distracted cell phone user, there are records that can prove this.

If you were a passenger who was injured riding with a distracted driver and become injured in an accident, you have rights.  You did not have control over the operations of the vehicle you were in, so you are not at fault!

In Texas, you have the right to make a claim for compensation to cover your automobile damage and/or personal injury medical bills, work hours lost, and other expenses.  You also have the right to make a claim against the person who was using the phone who caused the accident.

At Van Wey Law, we fight for your rights, and we fight to end distracted driving.

Here at Van Wey Law, we have teenagers, and we are all too familiar with the heavy burden of worry when your child walks out the door with keys in one hand, and cell phone in the other.  We believe in fighting for your rights as the injured party.  We also believe in making the world a better place by eliminating distracted driving in Texas.  It is 100% preventable.

Some personal injury lawyers have earned a bad reputation by approaching people’s misfortunes with the attitude of, “your pain is my gain.” For one attorney, this isn’t the case.

Kay Van Wey has launched a public service campaign in the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area to try and reduce the number of distracted driving fatalities.

I have personally witnessed so much unnecessary suffering of people who have been seriously injured or killed as When distracted driving accidents occur, they often result in serious injury or fatalities. Tragically, distracted driving accidents are 100% preventable. That is why I launched the Just Put It Down Campaign.

Kay Van Wey, Van Wey Law 

Join Van Wey Law and take the pledge to “Just Put It Down”.  Make a pact with your family as well.  A life is not worth a phone conversation or a text.  If you have been in the victim of a car accident that has been caused by a reckless driver, call Van Wey Law at 1(800) 489-5082 for a free legal consultation, and learn how you can best handle your compensation claim.

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