Technology Increases Risks for a Distracted Driving Car Accident in Alabama
According to a recent study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, nearly 40 percent of surveyed students admitted to using mobile phone applications while operating a motor vehicle, according to UAB News. Many of these students still participate in the dangerous activity even after they’ve almost involved themselves in a serious car accident in Alabama because of it.
“The participants seemed to understand that using mobile apps while driving is dangerous, and some have even experienced motor vehicle crashes while using mobile apps, but they continue to do it,” said University of Alabama student Lauren McCartney, who conducted the survey.
Our Birmingham injury attorneys are proud to report that this study will be presented in August to the 119th American Psychological Association (APA) convention in Washington, D.C. It’s encouraging to hear about students getting involved in driver safety. With concerned students on our local campuses, we may have a chance to reduce the number of fatalities caused by dangerous and careless driving habits. Our driving future may not be doomed after all.
“The technology is evolving so rapidly that science hasn’t caught up to looking at the effects that mobile app usage can have behind the wheel of a car,” says McCartney. “But something needs to be done because in psychological terms, Internet use involves substantial cognitive and visual distraction that exceeds talking or texting, making it much more dangerous.”
Currently, 33 states have already banned text messaging while driving. No states have yet to ban the specific use of mobile Internet while driving.
“Driving a car is an incredibly complex task for humans to complete safely. There are enormous cognitive, perceptual and motor tasks an automobile driver must complete, frequently very quickly and with split-second precision,” says Schwebel. “A driver using his or her smartphone is clearly distracted, both visually and cognitively, and really should not be driving. The fact that 10 percent of college students with smartphones ‘often’ are using them while driving is astounding — the fact that 35 percent ‘sometimes’ do is equally concerning.”
Since June of 2009, accidents that were caused by distracted driving have been recorded by the state's electronic crash report system, called eCrash. According to Alabama Live, there have been more than 1,400 wrecks reported that involved a distracted driver using a cell phone or another electronic device in the past 13 months.
"Although the available data is limited, there are many examples of vehicle crashes where distracted driving was a factor," ADECA Traffic Safety Program Manager Bill Whatley said in a prepared statement. "We urge Alabama drivers to recognize that anything that distracts you from driving your vehicle is reckless behavior that endangers us all."
A fairly new organization, Alabamians Against Distracted Driving (AADD), aims to combat this problem. They were established after US Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s requested participation from public-minded citizens.
He asked for their assistance and requested they become involved in the “anti distracted driving” movement. AADD aims to educate drivers about the dangers of texting while driving and of the danger of using a cell phone while driving, even if it's a hands-free device. Drivers using cell phones are 4 times more likely to be involved in a car accident.
"Texting has been the big explosion," said Michael Bassett, administrator of driver's education for the state Department of Education. "We tell them if you are going to text, you need to pull over to a safe place. If there's someone else in the car, they are the ones who need to be using the phone, not the driver."