Hands-free devices may lead to car accidents in Illinois

Although Illinois has strict cellphone laws, hands free devices are legal and have shown to cause a significant amount of cognitive distraction.

As smartphones become more technologically advanced, it isn't uncommon to see people reading emails, updating their social media profiles, searching the internet, texting and even watching movies on their cellphones. When people begin to engage in these activities while driving, however, they may unintentionally cause devastating vehicular accidents. Illinois has strict laws banning the use of hand-held cellphones or texting while driving, according to distraction.gov. In order to comply with the law, many drivers use hands free cellular devices, which may be incredibly dangerous as well.

Types of distraction

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains how there are three main types of distraction, including visual, manual and cognitive distractions. Visual distractions occur when drivers take their eyes off of the road, like when they dialing a phone number or texting. Manual distractions, on the other hand, require drivers to take their hands off of the steering wheels, and often happen when drivers change radio stations or reach for cellphones. Although these types of distractions are extremely dangerous, the hazards of cognitive distractions may be underestimated.

The hazards of cognitive distraction

While hands free cellular devices and voice-activated technology are legal to use in Illinois, studies show that these devices can cause significant mental impairment. According to the National Safety Council, the human brain is somewhat limited in its ability to process two complex tasks at the same time. Instead, the brain is forced to switch between the two tasks, leaving brief moments where the driver is not focused on the road ahead. This may result in a decreased ability to respond to emergency situations, such as inclement weather conditions, other motorists' erratic driving behavior or even animals or objects in the middle of the road.

Inattention blindness is another consequence of cognitive distraction, and occurs when the brain is unable to process up to 50 percent of a motorist's driving environment. Rather than see the full picture of what is in front of the vehicle, the motorist has tunnel vision and is less likely to see objects in their peripheral vision.

Partnering with an attorney

In a brief moment, innocent motorists may be inflicted with severe and life-changing injuries, including spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones and soft tissue damage. Not only do these injuries cause a great deal of pain and suffering, but they can be extremely expensive as well. Injured victims may be unable to return to work following the accident, leading to even more financial difficulties. An attorney can provide vital legal assistance to those who have been involved in a distracted driving accident.

Keywords: distracted, driving, accident, injury