According to a new study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, daydream driving may be a new form of distracted driving that results in nearly 400,000 injuries and over 3,000 fatalities each year in the United States. The study was conducted by researchers at George Mason University in Virginia who wanted to measure how frequently the minds of drivers wandered off, and to determine if further research could help prevent car accidents caused by daydream drivers.
Texting and cell phone use are the primary causes of distracted driving accidents in the U.S. Recent studies have shown that drivers who choose to engage in these behaviors while driving put everyone on the road at risk for serious and often fatal car crashes. Daydreaming, however, is not a choice that drivers make. Instead, daydreaming occurs most often during activities requiring sustained mental effort, such as driving.
Daydream Driving Case Study
Participants in the study were required to engage in two 20-minute driving simulation exercises over a five-day period. The simulator required the driver to travel down a straight highway while maintaining a consistent speed that was meant to simulate an average work commute. Drivers also took a written test between each session that was designed to replicate routine office work. An electroencephalogram measured brain wave activity during each simulation. Buzzers also sounded randomly during the simulation to identify when drivers were aware that their mind was wandering.
Researchers found that drivers spent 70 percent of their time behind the wheel daydreaming, but were aware that this was happening only 65 percent of the time. The study also indicated that the participants were not as aware of external stimuli during the periods that their minds wandered away from the task of driving. Incidents of daydreaming increased during the second daily session, indicating that daydreaming occurs more frequently on the commute home from work.
The researchers involved in the study acknowledged the fact that their results did not determine that daydreaming leads to car accidents, but they did conclude that their study indicated a need for further research. By identifying the tasks and behaviors that lead to daydreaming, researchers hope to develop technology and strategies to increase driver attention span and focus, and help reduce the number of injuries and fatalities related to distracted driving.
New Jersey Car Accident Lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP Advocate for Victims of Distracted DriversCar accidents happen, but when they are caused by a distracted driver, they often result in serious and sometimes fatal injuries. If you or someone you know has been injured by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the New Jersey car accident lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP at 732-777-0100, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are in Red Bank, Toms River, and Edison, New Jersey and we serve clients throughout the state.