Understanding distracted driving latency

Concerns about distracted driving are really no longer new. Many Pennsylvania residents have been involved in accidents caused by drivers who had been focused on tasks other than driving at the time. Sadly, use of phones or other devices while behind the wheel continues to be a common activity for many drivers in the state.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety explains that the risks associated with distractions last for some time even once the driver has stopped engaging in a specific distracted behavior. The term used to describe this is called latency. Research has indicated that upon completing an interaction with a GPS system or a phone, for example, a driver’s brain does not fully re-engage with driving for a full 27 seconds.

Many people may believe that reading an email or sending a quick text while at a red light is perfectly safe. However, the latency research dispels that belief as a myth as many drivers are apt to begin moving and driving again well before 27 seconds have elapsed after reading those emails or sending those texts. It is estimated that 5,000 people lose their lives every year in accidents caused by distracted drivers. That amounts to roughly 16 percent of all traffic fatalities annually. Equally important to keep in mind is that texting is not the only form of distraction as videos, music and more can also take a driver’s attention away from the road.

Written on behalf of Friedman Schuman. Contact our firm for a consultation to discuss your legal matter.