Schmitt Law Firm, LLC - Kansas City personal injury attorneys

Divided attention is the real threat while driving

People often argue that drivers should not be allowed to talk on the phone while driving because simply holding the phone takes one hand off of the wheel. They argue that this reduces the driver's control and increases the risk of an accident.

While this can be true, some studies have suggested that driving with one hand isn't the real issue. The problem is when a driver's attention is divided between two tasks. This increases the cognitive demands on the driver. Essentially, the driver could be focusing all of his or her brain power on driving, but spending some of those cognitive resources on thinking about the phone conversation means that driver pays less attention to traffic.

For example, one study examined drivers who were talking on the phone while driving and those who were not, finding that those who were talking blew through red lights twice as often. That's not a physical control issue; many drivers were simply thinking about the conversation and didn't see the lights change in time.

Divided attention isn't just linked to talking on a cellphone. It happens when the driver has any other tasks to carry out. Even simple, common activities could increase the risk. For instance, if a driver is listening to the radio and signing along with a favorite song, he or she is devoting some cognitive resources to that task and is less focused on driving.

Were you hit by a distracted driver who was trying to multitask behind the wheel? If so, you must know what legal options you have to seek financial compensation for your injuries.

Source: Penn State, "Driving Dangers: Singing in the Car?," accessed Aug. 02, 2017

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Ben Schmitt

Attorney Ben Schmitt

Mr. Schmitt has over 25 years of legal experience in Missouri and Kansas, and he has been first chair in over 100 jury trials in state and federal courts. He is recognized by the Kansas City Business Journal, Super Lawyers, and Martindale Hubbell as one of the best personal injury lawyers in Missouri and Kansas.