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Analysis shows all types of conversation can distract drivers

It appears that all conversations, not just talks on a cell phone, can distract drivers. This is the conclusion of a meta-analysis published in the journal Human Factors. The results of the study may be of interest to drivers in West Virginia.

The analysis covered experimental studies with a baseline measurement of driving performance when conversation was not present. More than 100 conversation situations were studied. The analysis showed that conversations with other passengers have a negative effect on lane position and the ability to maintain proper speed and distance from other vehicles. The more engaging the conversations are, the lower the drivers' attentiveness to the road.

Handheld cell phone use is especially dangerous, and the use of hands-free phones does not significantly change the results. Drivers on the phone tend not to look left and right and check the rearview mirror. Furthermore, they often fail to slow down, identify hazards and react in time. Dialing the phone is even more dangerous; it can be likened to texting because it takes one's eyes completely from the road. Drivers should know that 47 states currently have a ban on texting.

When negligent driving leads to an accident, it can form the basis for a personal injury claim or wrongful death suit. Victims or their families can consult with an attorney about taking legal action. After the attorney sees that the victim was not at fault, he or she can gather the necessary proof of negligence. Evidence could include police reports and physical evidence from the crash scene.

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