Hands free cellular devices pose a serious risk to CO motorists

Many motorists use hands free cellphones as a way to avoid car accidents; however, these devices can also result in distracted drivers.

Distracted driving takes the lives of thousands of innocent motorists each year. According to Distraction.gov, 3,154 people died and an additional 424,000 people were injured in distracted driving car accidents in 2013. In an attempt to decrease the number of people injured and killed in these types of auto accidents, many states have enacted laws prohibiting the use of cellular devices while driving. Many motorists have turned to hands-free cellphones in order to comply with the law. However, studies show even these devices are dangerous to use while driving in Colorado and around the country.

The dangers of cognitive distractions

According to the National Safety Council, hands-free devices create a significant source of cognitive distraction. While drivers are still able to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the steering wheel, hands-free cellphones remove motorists' attention from driving. Drivers who are actively engaged in a conversation are less likely to respond to dangerous hazards, such as objects in the road or bad weather conditions. They also have a delayed reaction time to pedestrians, traffic signals and crosswalks.

Inattention blindness

After carefully evaluating more than 30 studies on cognitive distraction, the NSC reported talking on a hands-free cellphone causes inattention blindness. This occurs when drivers are looking straight ahead at their driving environment, but fail to actually process up to 50 percent of the information in their field of vision. In some cases, inattention blindness can cause drivers to run red lights and fail to see other vehicles stopped in a traffic jam.

Regardless of what some people may think, the brain is physiologically unable to process two complex tasks at once, such as talking on a cellphone and driving. Instead, the driver's train of thought switches quickly from one task to the other. This leaves moments where distracted motorists aren't paying attention to the road in front of them. It only takes a split second before they cause a catastrophic accident, resulting in tragic injuries or even death.

The alternative

Colorado drivers, and motorists across the country, are encouraged to stay off of their cellphones while driving. Even hands-free devices should be avoided in order to keep the roadways safe. Since some people are unable to resist the temptation of checking a newly received text or composing an email while driving, experts suggest drivers turn off their phones while they are in the car. Not only could this simple gesture save drivers from getting into motor vehicle accidents, it just may save a life.

When to contact an attorney

People who have been seriously injured or have lost a loved one because of a distracted driver may choose to seek legal representation through a personal injury attorney in Colorado. An attorney may help you explore all of your legal options. Furthermore, a lawyer may help you get compensation for your medical expenses, emotional trauma, property damage and lost wages from work.

Keywords: distracted, driving, accident, texting, injury