Many California drivers wrongly believe that they can multitask

When drivers multitask behind the wheel, they endanger the lives of other drivers, passengers and pedestrians.

Distracted driving is a serious problem on the roadways in California and throughout the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than nine people are killed and over 1,153 are injured every day in an auto accident involving driver distraction. Many of these injurious and fatal accidents may occur because some drivers believe that they are capable of multitasking behind the wheel.

Why drivers text and drive

In a recent surveyed released by AT&T, 98 percent of the drivers who participated reported that they knew that texting and driving was dangerous and creates many crash victims every year. However, three-quarters of the respondents admitted that they had texted and driven a vehicle simultaneously.

There were many different reasons cited by the participants as to why they still text and drive. For example, more than a quarter of the texting drivers said that they believed that they could effectively multitask, even while driving.

Common multitasking myths

There are many myths surrounding multitasking that may contribute to the belief that many drivers have that multitasking is safe. For example, according to the National Safety Council, some drivers may think that:

  • The brain was designed to multitask - contrary to popular belief, the brain cannot effectively process two activities at one time. Instead of processing two separate activities, the brain will rapidly switch between the two different cognitive activities being performed.
  • Talking on a cellphone is the same as speaking with a passenger - in a 2008 study cited by the University of Utah, it was discovered that drivers become more oblivious to changing traffic conditions when they talk on a cellphone. Comparatively, when drivers have a passenger with them, this person can help them stay alert and aware of what's happening on the road.
  • Hands-free devices eliminate the dangers of distraction - regardless of whether a driver uses a handheld or hands-free device, the level of distraction to the brain remains the same. A study released by Carnegie Mellon University revealed that activity in the parietal lobe decreases by about 37 percent while listening to language. This is the area of the brain that is responsible for processing the movement visual images.

Drivers in California who multitask behind the wheel may cause car accidents that result in serious injuries for those involved. If you recently sustained injuries in a motor vehicle accident, speak with an attorney to determine what compensation may be available to you.

Keywords: distracted, driving, texting, accident