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Putting the phone down doesn’t end driver distraction

On Behalf of | Feb 7, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Most drivers are well aware that their phones can be distracting and that they should not use them in the car. Over the last decade, it has become clear that phones lead to numerous accidents, and drivers can even face citations for using their phones in the car.

One mistake that some drivers make is in assuming that there’s no risk as long as they put their phone down when they start driving again. For example, take a driver who is at a red light. They may get their phone out while they wait at the light, using that time to check their notifications. When the light turns green, they put the phone down again – and they assume that this is safe.

The next 27 seconds

Setting the phone down does tend to eliminate the manual and physical distractions the driver is facing. They can return their eyes to the road and both of their hands to the steering wheel.

But it doesn’t eliminate the cognitive or mental distraction that goes along with using a phone. If that driver was reading an email or a text message, they’re still thinking about it after they set down their phone.

When studies have looked into the phenomenon, they have determined that these cognitive distractions last for the next 27 seconds, or just under half of a minute. This means that even drivers who try to stay “safe” by using their phones at red lights are still much more likely to cause serious accidents than drivers who do not use their phones at all.

Have you suffered injuries?

It’s best not to use your phone in the car, but you know that drivers around you may still do so. If one of them causes an accident and you suffer serious injuries, take the time to look into your legal options.