Pay Attention and Read This

Some believe that multitasking, often seen as a plus in the work world, is just another word for distraction. It does appear as if the number of distractions we have in our lives grows ever more prevalent because of technology: so many things to listen to or watch, so many people reaching out to us 24/7—and we to them.

Teens, Cars, and Distraction

It’s been shown repeatedly that distractions behind the wheel causes accidents, with cell phones and other devices implicated. Researchers have now concluded that teens are especially at risk from distraction when it comes to rear-end collisions. The researchers used data (obtained from in-vehicle recorders) from more than 400 rear-end crashes involving drivers aged 16 to 19 between 2007 and 2013. In a staggering near-90 percent of accidents, drivers did not pay enough attention to what was happening on the road in front of them. And, if they were using a cell phone, those who were texting took longer to respond than the ones making a phone call.

The lead author of the study, Cher Carney of the Transportation and Vehicle Safety Policy Research Program at the Public Policy Center at The University of Iowa, commented, “Research has shown that teen drivers are more willing to engage in distractions than are adult drivers. They are also overconfident in their abilities as a driver and tend to take more risks, such as choosing to be distracted at inopportune times.”

Death Because of Distraction

In last year’s Amtrak derailment north of Center City, Philadelphia, eight people died and more than 200 were injured when the train left the tracks at over 100 miles per hour. While it’s long been theorized that operator error caused the excessive speed that led to the derailment, the National Transportation Safety Board has now determined that the engineer was distracted by the radio dispatches he was listening to just prior to the derailment. The section of track in question has multiple speed changes and curves, and is challenging under the best of conditions. Distraction, in this case, led to a sad series of events and one of the deadliest train accidents in our nation’s history.

Single-Tasking: Superior?

A new idea, mono-tasking or single-tasking, is gaining traction, though it’s not quite a movement yet. Even so, one rising tech trend is the desire for items that reduce or eliminate distractions. One product that has raised a lot of crowdfunding seed money is a laptop that doesn’t allow you to do anything but write. (Your parents or grandparents might have called something similar a typewriter.)

Joking aside, single-tasking has been shown to make work more enjoyable and leave you less fatigued at the end of the day. Distraction also has an insidious spiral effect: The more we are distracted from an activity, the more distraction we crave. Perhaps going old-school and concentrating on only a single task at a time could be the answer to solving some serious problems in our society.

If you have been injured by a distracted driver, our law firm can help. Give our accident attorneys a call today for a free consultation about your case.

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