Cognitive Distractions: What Motorists In Fort Collins Should Know

While many people believe that hands free cellphones are safe to use while driving, studies show that they pose a risk to drivers on the road.

In this age of cellular technology, many people find it hard to put down their cellphones while they are behind the wheel. In January 2014, the Pew Internet Research Project found that at least 90 percent of adult Americans owned cellphones. More than 60 percent of Americans are smartphone owners, and have the capability to search the Internet, access social media pages and compose email. Despite state and national campaigns warning people of the risks of distracted driving, people continue to use their cellular devices while operating a vehicle. This seemingly harmless task, however, led to the deaths of more than 3,100 people and injured 424,000 in 2013 in motor vehicle accidents. Many states enforce laws restricting drivers from using cellular devices while driving. This legislation continues to save the lives of innocent motorists and pedestrians in Fort Collins.

Colorado cellphone laws

According to Distraction.gov, the U.S. government's official website for distracted driving, all motorists in Fort Collins are prohibited from texting while driving. Only beginner drivers are banned from talking on handheld and hands-free cellphones while operating a vehicle. Currently, only 14 states in the nation prohibit all drivers from talking on handheld cellphones, as reported by the Governor's Highway Safety Association. Extensive studies show that talking on any type of cellphone can be significantly distracting and lead to devastating car accidents, serious injuries and even death.

A look at cognitive distraction

In some states, especially those where talking on a handheld cellphone is illegal, people turn to hands-free devices as a way to use their cellphones while staying in compliance with the law. Although hands-free devices allow drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel and eyes on the road, they still divert motorists' focus off of driving. Distraction.gov refers to these types of activities as cognitive distractions, as they interfere with the driver's ability to concentrate on the road.

The National Safety Council evaluated over 30 studies on cognitive distraction. The NSC found that while many people feel as though they can engage in two complex tasks at the same time, the human brain cannot do so effectively. When drivers attempt to maintain a conversation and drive, their brain constantly switches back and forth between the two tasks. This leaves moments where motorists are not paying attention to driving at all. Motorists who are cognitively distracted are less likely to respond to certain driving hazards, such as inclement weather conditions, traffic signals, pedestrian crossings, objects on the road and other drivers.

When an accident occurs

Distracted drivers are a serious threat, not only to other motorists on the road, but to pedestrians and bicyclists as well. If you have lost a loved one or have been seriously injured due to another driver's negligence, you may want to discuss your legal options with a personal injury attorney in Fort Collins. You may be entitled to compensation for lost wages from work, medical expenses, property damage and emotional trauma.

Keywords: distracted, driving, texting, accident, injury