Despite Cellphone Laws, CA Residents At Risk For Cognitive Distraction

The majority of American adults own a cellphone of some type, according to Pew Research Center, making it fairly common to see California residents talking, texting, searching the internet or watching videos on their cellular devices at any given time. However, when people choose to engage in these negligent behaviors while driving, they are endangering innocent motorists on the road. Distraction.gov reports that nearly 660,000 motorists are talking or texting on their cellphones and driving at any given daylight moment, increasing the likelihood that a car accident may occur. Although California has some of the strictest cellphone laws in the nation, cognitive distraction and other distractive behaviors can also endanger people's lives on the road.

California Cellphone Laws

While California law prohibits the use of hand-held cellphones and texting while driving, as reported by distraction.gov, it does allow drivers to use hands-free cellular devices and voice-command technology in their vehicles while driving. More and more studies show that cognitive distraction caused by engaging in conversation with a hands-free device while driving can be extremely hazardous.

Cognitive Distraction

The National Safety Council explains how people tend to disengage from their driving environment when they are talking to someone through their cellphone, regardless of whether it is hand-held or hands-free. People may be looking straight ahead while driving, but their brain is unable to process all of the essential information in their field of vision. The NSC refers to this as inattention blindness and it stems from the brains inability to accomplish two complex activities simultaneously. As the brain quickly switches focus between one task and the other, there are gaps in essential visual data that is sent to the brain for processing.

This may explain what happened when a woman ran through a red light while talking on her cellphone and collided with another vehicle passing directly in front of her. The NSC reported that although several other cars were stopped at the red traffic signal, the woman sped through, never touching her brakes as she smashed into the passing vehicle, killing a 12-year-old boy. People who witnessed the accident reported that she was looking straight ahead and talking on a cellphone when the accident occurred.

When talking on a cellphone, motorists may also experience a decreased reaction time when responding to a hazardous situation, such as another driver's erratic behavior, an object in the road or bad weather conditions. This increases the risk of a devastating car accident and serious physical injury.

Finding Legal Representation

People who have been injured or who have lost a loved one as the result of a motorist's decision to drive while distracted may be eligible to receive compensation for their injuries, lost wages from time taken off of work, and emotional trauma they have suffered. An attorney can help make rational decisions regarding your case and walk you through the legal process.

Keywords: distracted, driving, injury, accident