Distracted driving has been identified as the primary cause in the increase of motor vehicle accidents in recent years. In 80% of all accidents, the driver was looking away from the road or doing something else at least three seconds prior to the accident. Research has determined that at any time, 11% of all motorists are talking on cell phones. The use of a cell phone, even a hands free phone, quadruples the risk of an accident.

The mind is similar to a computer and can process only so much data at one time. Even if you are not distracted, your mind can not process all of the information it receives while driving. Talking on a cell phone or focusing on an application puts the brain into information overload making it impossible to safely operate a vehicle.

For example, research shows that a motorist on a cell phone tends to look only straight ahead and stops scanning the road. This results in the loss of peripheral vision, and the driver often fails to see things coming in from the side such as a pedestrian or another car. Texting is even more dangerous because motorists literally take their eyes off the road and their hands off of the steering wheel.

Cell phones and other electronic devices are also a problem for pedestrians. A Los Angeles study found that pedestrians talking on cell phones are less likely to look for traffic and take longer to get to the opposite side when crossing the street.

Resources

Brain Injury Alliance of NJ

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration