Texting While Driving May Dull “Sixth Sense” That Prevents Accidents

By this point, virtually everyone is aware of the dangers of texting while driving and that texting leads to thousands of car accidents every year, many of them causing serious injuries or deaths. For some reason—and probably for a number of reasons—Americans seem to have trouble putting their phones down and focusing on the road in front of them. It may be easy to convince yourself that sending a quick text message is no more dangerous than adjusting the radio or thinking about a work project. A recent study, however, suggests a driver’s brain is inclined to protect a distracted driver in many cases, but not when the distraction is created by texting.

Small-Scale Study

The study was conducted by a research team from the University of Houston and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, and was partially funded by program established in the wake of a class-action settlement involving Toyota. The researchers looked at the effects of various types of distractions on 59 volunteers as they navigated a stretch of highway on a high-tech driving simulator.

Each volunteer was subjected to three different distractions, one involving questions that required the driver to cognitively engage, one involving emotionally-charged questions, and texting while driving. The study found that all three distractions caused a driver’s handling to become “jittery.” However, only the case of texting did researchers observe “significant lane deviations and unsafe driving.” The other types of distractions, it seemed, were offset by a type of “sixth sense,” that kept the simulated vehicle driving much straighter than when texting was a factor.

Application of the Results

The idea that the human brain will automatically counteract many types of distractions will play a major role in the future creation of failsafe protocols for automated vehicles. “We are currently looking into the development of a car system to monitor outward driving behaviors, such as steering jitter or lane deviation, as well as the internal state of the driver that causes them,” said Ioannis Pavlidis, one of the study’s lead authors. The system is intended to sense when a driver is becoming distracted and to alert the driver to prevent a potential accident.

DuPage County Distracted Driving Car Accidents

Safe driving is the responsibility of every single person who gets behind the wheel, but, unfortunately, many do not take such responsibility very seriously until it is too late. If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, whether texting was a factor or not, you may be entitled to collect compensation for your injuries. Contact an experienced Wheaton car accident lawyer to discuss your case today and take the first steps on the road to financial recovery. Call 630-462-1980 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation at Walsh, Knippen & Cetina, Chartered .





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