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Effects of distracted driving may linger, putting others at risk

If you've driven recently, then you've probably noticed that a vast number of motorists are busy performing other tasks while driving. These individuals are on their cell phones talking and texting, eating, reaching for objects within the vehicle's cabin, and even arguing with their passengers. Regardless of the specific activity in which these individuals are engaged, they are taking their attention off the road and putting others in danger.

Making matters worse, distracted driving may have a longer-lasting effect than many think. According to a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic & Safety, those who become distracted while driving may experience a "hangover" effect for as long as 27 seconds after cessation of the distracting activity. This "inattentive blindness" is just as dangerous as the distraction itself, which is especially worrisome since a significant portion of the more than 40,000 traffic fatalities last year can be attributed to distracted driving.

Many companies are trying to curtail distractions by changing their products. For example, one company has created a heads up display that transfers information from a phone to a screen, allowing a driver to continue to keep his or her eyes on the road. It is unknown, though, if these types of changes would actually increase attentiveness. AAA recommends that these systems be created with a shutoff function that automatically kicks in when the vehicle is in motion.

It doesn't take long for a distracted driver to a cause a serious car accident that leaves innocent motorists seriously injured or dead. Those who are harmed in these wrecks need to know that they may be able to recover compensation for their losses via a personal injury lawsuit. While money may help them pay off medical expenses and recoup their lost wages, a successful claim may also shine more light on this major issue, and spur the change that is needed to ensure safety for all motorists.

Source: CNBC, "Driving while distracted comes with a 'hangover' effect, AAA says," Erin Barry, March 12, 2017

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