Cognitive distraction can endanger Kentucky motorists

Talking on a cellphone while driving is considered a cognitive distraction and can lead to a devastating car accident.

Although Kentucky law prohibits motorists from texting and driving, drivers are able to talk on their cellphones while operating their vehicles with no threat of legal recourse. Talking on a hand held or hands free cellphone while driving, however, has proven to be a dangerous form of distracted driving that has claimed the lives of many people across the country. Numerous studies have been released highlighting the dangers of cognitive distraction, and show how carrying on a conversation with another person over the phone can lead to a disastrous car accident.

What is cognitive distraction?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cognitive distractions occur when a driver's attention is diverted away from the primary task of driving. Many motorists believe that they can effectively multi-task by engaging in a conversation while driving. Scientific studies prove otherwise.

The National Safety Council released a study evaluating how the brain is affected by distractions. The report shows how the human brain in incapable of handling two difficult tasks, such as talking on a cellphone and driving, at the same time. Rather than complete two activities simultaneously, the brain actually switches back and forth between the two tasks, leaving moments where the driver is completely incapable of responding to an emergency driving situation. As a result, the driver experiences a reduced reaction time to situations such as inclement weather conditions, objects in the road, other drivers' erratic behavior or pedestrians.

Inattention blindness

Whether motorists are talking on a hand held or hands free cellphone, they are unable to actually see and process up to 50 percent of their driving environment, according to the NSC. In some reports, drivers appear to be looking straight ahead while they are talking on their cellphones; however they may end up running through red lights and stop signs. In some cases, inattention blindness can cause motor vehicle collisions.

The dangers of voice-activated devices

A recent study released from AAA shows that advanced voice-activated technology used in vehicles may increase a driver's stress and distraction, rather than reduce the amount of distraction a driver experiences. The study found that the biggest cause of distraction occurred when voice-activated technology was unable to accurately interpret the driver's commands. There is a chance that this new technology can actually decrease mental distraction in the future if manufacturers work on increasing the quality and accuracy of their systems.

When to call an attorney

People who have been victimized by a distracted driver may want to seek legal assistance from an established personal injury attorney. You may be qualified to receive compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage and any pain and suffering you may have experienced as a result of the collision.

Keywords: distracted, driving, texting, accident, injury