It is an all too common sight to look over at the car in the next lane, only to see the driver talking on their phone or texting while driving. These are just a couple of examples of distracted driving, a problem which continues to claim the lives of thousands of people across the country each year. Researchers from the University of Houston and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute have examined how drivers react to a range of distractions in an effort to improve safety on roads and highways.
Sixty-eight volunteers participated in the study, which used a driving simulator. All participants had a valid driver’s license, and had normal or corrected-to-normal vision. Researchers tracked each driver, using thermal and visual cameras, palm sensors, an eye tracking system, and sensors that measured heart rate and breathing rate. According to the Director of the Computational Physiology Lab at the University of Houston, the study is the first of its kind to examine sensorimotor distractions, cognitive distractions, and emotional distractions.
Each volunteer drove the same stretch of highway four times in a high-fidelity driving simulator, including a trip with no distractions, one with a cognitive distraction, one with an emotional distraction, and one with a physical distraction. Wearable sensors recorded their heart rate, breathing rate, facial expressions, and level of perspiration in order to capture when the driver became overloaded by multitasking. The simulator also recorded the vehicle’s speed, acceleration, braking force, steering angle, and lane position.
Researchers Say Texting Leads to Dangerous Driving
Texting, which is an example of a sensorimotor distraction, resulted in more dangerous driving behavior compared to specific cognitive or emotional distractions. For example, drivers who were texting while driving were more likely to swerve out of their lane. Researchers also found that a “sixth sense” seemed to protect drivers from cognitive or emotional distractions, whereas texting seemed to interfere with that “sixth sense.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,477 people were fatally injured and another 391,000 were injured in distracted driving car accidents in 2015. Many of these accidents could have been prevented if drivers and pedestrians alike were aware of their surroundings and kept their attention focused on the road. While many states now have laws that ban texting while driving, more proactive intervention is necessary to raise awareness of this ongoing problem and prevent further injuries and fatalities.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Seek Justice for Victims of Distracted Driving Accidents
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a car accident involving a distracted driver, it is in your best interest to contact the experienced Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. Our dedicated team will work closely with you to ensure that you receive the maximum financial compensation to which you are entitled. We will protect your rights throughout the entire process. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, do not hesitate to call us at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent car accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.