Texting more likely to cause car accidents than daydreaming

It is a well-known fact that distracted driving can be extremely dangerous. Scientists from Texas A&M Transportation Institute and the University of Houston have recently reported that their studies compared different types of distractions and yielded fascinating results. Daydreaming, emotional distractions and texting while driving were studied, and it was found that car accidents were most likely to be caused by texting.

Research participants were put in a simulator, and they had to drive the same road under four different — randomly chosen — circumstances. These were normal conditions, emotionally distressed or angry, absent-minded, and texting. By using biofeedback instruments such as thermal imaging, analysis of the drivers’ mental states throughout the experiments showed that only the up and down movement of the head while texting adversely affected the driving abilities of participants.

According to the researchers, the part of the brain that is called the anterior cingulate cortex, or ACC, acts as an autopilot while drivers daydream or are emotional. However, if a driver should, for instance, reach for the glovebox while in such a state of mind, the “auto pilot” is canceled, and this is what happens during texting while driving. Over 430,000 people suffered injuries that were caused by texting while driving in 2014, and more than 3,000 lost their lives. These statistics make distracted driving worthy of attention by researchers.

Residents of Texas whose lives have been negatively affected by car accidents that were caused by distracted drivers may find comfort in knowing that they may pursue financial relief to assist with medical costs and other losses. Injured victims or the surviving family members of those who died under such circumstances may file personal injury and/or wrongful death claims in a civil court. Once negligence on the part of another party is established, the court will enter a monetary judgment to cover documented claims for emotional and economic damages.

Source: gizmodo.com, “Why We Don’t Crash Our Cars While Daydreaming and Driving“, George Dvorsky, May 12, 2016