Texting while Driving interferes with driver multitasking
The statistics on distracted driving car accidents throughout North America are quite horrendous. In the United States it’s estimated that approximately 5,400 people lost their lives in distracted driving car accidents in 2009. It’s further estimated that nearly half a million others suffered injuries in car accidents involving distracted driving. In a recently released statement by the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) we learned that we are 23 times more likely to be involved in a car accident if we text while driving and four times more likely if we talk on a cellphone (hand-held or hands-free) while driving. The IBC also told us that distracted drivers experience the same level of impairment as someone with a blood-alcohol content of .08 and that distracted driving is estimated to be a contributing factor in eight out of 10 police-reported car accidents. Distracted driving could be described as any type of activity that takes your attention away as a driver which takes away from the responsibility of controlling your car – thereby causing a car accident. Distracted driving can be caused by a hand held devices such as a cell phone, smart phone or iPod but also caused by hand held GPS’, eating or drinking, watching a video, reading a map on your iPhone or even something as simple as putting on makeup.
In 2011 texting and driving was taken to new heights. A recent NTSB investigation showed that a pilot that was flying a medic helicopter in Missouri was highly distracted from texting. The NTSB documented 240 text messages sent and received by the pilot during his day shift leading up to the accident. Right before the accident there was 20 recorded texts. The distraction from texting prevented the pilot from taking off without enough fuel and without knowing he did not have enough fuel reserves. The pilot also failed to properly perform a manoeuvre that could have possibly allowed a soft landing after the engine quit but he was not sufficiently trained to do so. The NTSB found that the pilot had missed three opportunities or checks to discover that he did not have enough fuel and that he could have possibly made an emergency landing minutes before the crash. The NTSB was unsure if he was texting during the flight or texting during the moments before the crash. This unfortunate accident killed a patient that was being transported from one hospital to another as well as a paramedic and flight nurse. This was the first time the NTSB had recorded a Smartphone device causing or contributing to a fatal commercial accident.
Distracted Driving Accidents
This is an extreme example of distracted driving although quite seminal for the fact that it was the first recorded air crash which was caused or contributed to by being distracted by texting. Texting was thought to have interfered with the pilot’s multitasking requirements to ensure flight safety. Quite similarly distracted driving has become a major threat on Ontario’s roadways and a main contributor of car accidents. Driving also requires multitasking and those who use hand-free devices, speech-to-text technology, texting while driving or emailing requires a technological “tunnel vision” level of concentration that prevents drivers from taking in the visual information of their surroundings. Being distracted while driving with a Smartphone or any hand held device causes a fundamental constraint that limits ones ability to drive and cause deadly car accidents. Unfortunately people are still disobeying the law in droves and car accidents keep happening.
If you have been the victim injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver you have legal rights. Please contact our Oakville car accident law firm for more information.