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Brian Denney

What is Distracted Driving and Why is it Dangerous?

» Written by // March 21, 2012 //

Distracted driving is a problem that can be seen in all types of people; teens, men, women, elder drivers, truck drivers; no class of driver is immune from driving while distracted.

What is “distracted driving”? I think we can all agree that it should be treated as any activity could divert the attention of the driver of a vehicle away from the primary task of operating that motor vehicle. Those activities probably are numerous, but they certainly include:

  • Texting or e-mailing
  • Using a cell phone
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Grooming
  • Reading, including maps
  • Using a navigation system
  • Watching a video
  • Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player

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And any other similar activity. All of these activities fall into three general types of distractions: manual, visual and cognitive or any combination of them. You reach for the dial to change a radio station, you look at the dial, and you think about which radio station you want to tune – manual, visual and cognitive in just one act.

Many of us believe that we have the ability to “multi-task” effectively. Science proves otherwise and it seems pretty clear that our human brains simply can not do more than one thing at a time. Science tells us that our brains must process each function we ask of it by going through the following for each task:

  1. Selection: the brain decides what information to focus on
  2. Process: the brain begins to process through the visual, auditory and sensual data it is receiving
  3. Encoding: the brain begins creating memory. The brain creates memory by screening out distractions and prioritizing attention.  During this phase, the brain is particularly affected by distractions and diversion of attention.
  4. Storage: the brain begins storing information in short term memory. Not everything is stored in memory. The brain makes decisions during the encoding process what things are to be stored.
  5. Retrieval: the brain must access stored information
  6. Execute: the brain chooses and implements the course of action

For more in-depth information about the dangers of distracted driving, check out these sections of our website:

Do you know – Costs of Distracted Driving

Do you know – Texting While Driving — A Sobering Video

Do you know – The Human Brain Does Not Multi-Task

Do you know – What Drivers Must Focus On During an Average Drive

Do you know – Managing multiple tasks — driving causes processing issues for the brain

Do you know – Texting and Driving Requires More Cognitive Processing and Causes More Distraction Than Cell Phone Use

Do you know – How Good Are Your Powers of Observation?

If your group would like one of our attorneys particularly skilled in cases involving distacted driving to speak to you, feel free to contact us either by telephone at 561-686-6300 or by e-mail at

Just do not try to contact us while you are driving!

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