You have heard many times that driving while distracted by a cellphone or other device is dangerous. What you might not know is exactly how it happens — that is, how splitting your attention between the road and some other activity affects your brain and reduces your ability to drive safely.
A 2017 scientific study suggests the effect: a distraction causes a brief delay in visual detection. The delay is about 40 milliseconds, which does not sound like a significant length of time. But the author of the study said that each distraction a driver indulges in creates a “snowball effect”: the more the distractions pile up, the longer it takes for the brain to reengage with the task of driving.
The lie that distracted drivers tell themselves
Distracted drivers tell themselves that because they have texted and talked on their phones while driving without getting into a car accident before, it isn’t a big deal. But in some situations, a driver needs to make a split-second decision to avoid a serious car accident. The delayed reaction that, for example, typing and reading a text message exchange for a minute or two can cause is more than enough to take away the chance to avoid a wreck.
How a personal injury lawsuit can help after a distracted driving crash
Whatever the science behind distracted driving, we know that it causes numerous deadly and severe injuries on Maryland’s highways and city streets every year. Victims cannot go back in time to stop the distracted driver from crashing into them. But they can use their right to sue under Maryland’s torts laws to seek compensation for their injuries so that they do not have to face the double harm of disabling physical injuries and crushing medical bills during a period they are unable to work.