Last year’s Virginia Tech study focused the nation’s attention on the dangers of distracted driving. Subsequently, the U.S. Department of Transportation has launched several initiatives to address texting behind the wheel and the dangers of cell phone use generally. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is even pushing for an all-out ban any kind of mobile cell phone use.
If this latest study is valid, LaHood may have a point. According to new research findings, only a small group of motorists classified in the study as “supertaskers” can safely drive and talk on their cell phone–even in hands-free mode–”without noticeable impairment.” These supertaskers–i.e., those with extraordinary multitasking abilities–amounted to only a mere 2.5 percent (one in 40) of the test subjects.
CBSNews.com provides more details:
In this latest study, the University of Utah psychologists analyzed the responses of 200 participants, who were first tested in a driving simulator, and then again driving while also engaged in a hands-free cell phone conversation involving word memorization and math problem-solving.
The researchers measured reactions in braking, the drivers’ following distance on the “freeway,” memory, and math computation.
Results showed that for 97.5 percent of the subjects, performance suffered across the board when both driving and talking on a hands-free cell phone.
Study co-author Dr. Jason Watson explained that “given the number of individuals who routinely talk on the phone while driving, one would have hoped that there would be a greater percentage of supertaskers.” Yet with only 2.5 percent in this particular study qualifying as supertaskers, “while we’d probably all like to think we are the exception to the rule, the odds are overwhelmingly against it.”
Texting while driving is illegal in Virginia and 17 other states, and laws vary with respect to other kinds of mobile cell phone activity. For example, drivers under 18 in Virginia are prohibited from using any kind of wireless device in the car.
If you–or someone you love–have been injured in an automobile accident caused by a distracted driver in Virginia regardless of the cause of the distraction, do not hesitate to get in touch with the personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Richard J. Serpe, P.C., Toll Free 877-544-5323, for a no-obligation consultation.