Siegal & RichardsonLLP

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Cellphone use leads to distracted driving crashes

Distracted driving is a serious problem in America. It causes hundreds of accidents, all of which could be avoided. Literally thousands of people have been killed in crashes where individuals were using their cellphones. That's not even considering the situations where people were using other devices, eating behind the wheel or becoming distracted in additional ways.

People like to believe that they're able to multitask, but the reality is that no one can do two things at once, efficiently. Even though you think you can, the brain has to prioritize one action over another. You may appear to be watching where you're going but actually be daydreaming, for instance. This is part of what makes multitasking so dangerous.

Cellphone-related crashes are not reported as often as they should be

It is not always clear when crashes are a result of using cellphones. Sometimes, the true cause of an accident isn't as apparent as it should be, and so it's believed that accidents related to cellphone use are underreported. There is the chance of proving cellphone use by reviewing a person's usage, but that takes time and isn't always obvious right away.

Using a cellphone behind the wheel isn't safe

Even if you use a cellphone hands-free, it isn't safe. Cellphones cause three kinds of distractions: visual, cognitive and physical. When your mind, eyes and body aren't focused on driving, there is an extremely high risk of being involved in a crash.

Here's an example. Whenever you text someone, you write with your hands. If you use voice activation, you're still focusing on what you want to say. Then, you have to use your fingers to press single buttons to send the message or select whom to send the message to.

During this time, you are thinking about the text, taking your hand or hands off the wheel and taking your eyes off the road. All three could result in your going off the road, hitting another vehicle or ending up in a crash.

The best thing you can do is to avoid using your smartphone when you are on the road. While it's sometimes necessary to make calls or send a message, it's also easy to pull over to the side of the road to do so. It takes only a few seconds to stop and send a message, but it could save your life and the lives of others.

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