Monday, April 18, 2011

Dangers of driving while using cell phones detailed

An article in this week's issue of the Economist presents new evidence on the dangers of using mobile phones while driving.  As we have previously written, the dangers of distracted driving are well documented, and have led to substantial personal injury settlements as well as action by state and federal governments to curb the problem.  Now research suggests that cell phone usage is more distracting that others activities undertaken by drivers such as eating, listening to the radio, or dealing with kids.

According to the article, cell phone usage differs from other language activities, such as speaking with someone actually in the car and listening to the radio.  It is more difficult to process communication when someone is not physically present.  The Economist article cited a Carnegie Mellon study that found a 37% decrease in activity in the brain's parietal lobe simply from listening to another caller.  As a result, some have argued that hands-free communications are not substantially safer, since the resulting distraction results not from physically holding a phone to one's head, but from the mental act of communicating without someone being present.

According to at least one study cited in the article, a driver using a cell phone is more collision-prone than a driver at the legal limit for alcohol consumption in Georgia; such drivers are 4 times as likely to cause a collision while on the phone as non-distracted drivers.  And drivers using a phone for text messages are several times more likely than drivers simply talking on the phone to cause a collision.

Our firm has represented numerous individuals injured in automobile collisions caused by drunk drivers and drivers distracted by cell phone use.  Please call us if we can answer any questions about your legal rights.

Previous posts:
City settles car accident case involving cell phone use for $1.5 million
Georgia enacts new laws prohibiting driving and text messaging while driving
United States Department of Transportation proposes ban on cell phone usage for commercial drivers

Turkheimer & Hadden, LLC
(404) 890-7200
Trial and Appellate Lawyers

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