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Cognitive distractions lead to car accidents

Car accidents can be caused by many factors. Quite often, distracted drivers who do not have their full attention on the important task of driving cause auto accidents in Pennsylvania. There are three primary forms of distracted driving: visual distraction, manual distraction and cognitive distraction. This post will focus on cognitive distraction, also known as mental distraction.

As its name suggests, a mental distraction is one which causes a driver's mental attention to be diverted. A mentally distracted driver may have his hands on the steering wheel and eyes trained on the road ahead, but if his mind is distracted, he is not fully focused, and, therefore, creates a tremendous risk for car accidents.

There are many factors that can contribute to a driver becoming mentally distracted. Particularly troublesome today is the prevalence of voice-command features and hands-free technology in vehicles. A driver who is talking on his phone or changing music via a voice command, but who still has his hands on the wheel, may believe that he is giving his full attention to the important task of driving, but in fact, he is distracted by his other activities and operating under a false sense of security.

Interestingly, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, mental distractions can affect a driver even after he has completed the distracting activity. A driver who has used a voice command to send a text, make a phone call or change the music in his car may be cognitively distracted for almost 30 seconds after completing the initial task.

Cognitive distractions must be taken seriously. If you have been injured by a distracted driver, whether the driver was mentally, visually or manually distracted, you may be able to recover compensation in a lawsuit.

Source: AAA, "Distracted Driving," accessed Sept. 30, 2016

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