SOUTHFIELD, Michigan. It is generally well-understood that texting and driving is dangerous and even deadly. According to Texting and Driving Safety, 52% of Americans have admitted to talking on a cell phone while driving, and another 34% admitted to texting and driving while behind the wheel. The large percentages of people who engage in these dangerous activities has the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction wondering why so many people do it. Why can’t we resist our phones? It has a lot to do with addiction and compulsion.
Smartphones affect the brain on an unconscious level. When we hear that we have received a text, or email, the brain is flooded with dopamine. Dopamine floods the reward circuits of the brain, leading to increased arousal and attention. The expectation of a reward—someone texting us, or someone responding to a post on social media—increases the levels of dopamine in the brain. We want to respond to rewarding stimuli. This makes our text messages so hard to resist. Researchers essentially found that the same parts of our brain that reward us for eating, sex, and drugs and alcohol, are rewarded when we receive and send texts. In fact, when this part of our brain is activated, another very important part of our brain gets shut off—the part of our brain that is responsible for judgment and reason.
So, what can we do about this very real biological reward system hijacking our brains while we are driving? For one, we can put our phones on silent while we are behind the wheel. If we don’t hear the sound of a text, we won’t receive the same dopamine hit that will tempt us to respond to it. Secondly, law enforcement can hold individuals accountable when they text and drive, through increased enforcement and through higher penalties. If texting and driving becomes as serious an offense as drinking and driving, individuals may be more likely to resist the temptation. Auto accident personal injury lawsuits can also serve as a deterrent. By holding individuals accountable for their actions behind the wheel, society sends a strong message to those who act irresponsibly. If you’ve been hurt by a distracted driver, contact The Law Office of J.L. Hawkins, P.L.L.C. in Southfield Michigan who are auto accident personal injury lawyers and can give you the legal support needed.
According to CNN, a new technology called Groove can also help prevent texting and driving accidents. The app holds all texts and social media updates from being sent to a person’s phone while your car is in motion. This can prevent individuals from developing problematic texting habits in the first place. Individuals who text and drive regularly may also be further entrenching and reinforcing dangerous and deadly behaviors. Every time they get away with it, they may come to believe that they are safe doing it. Scientists explain that asking people to exert willpower is not enough. Apps that shut down people’s phones might help. Perhaps even cell providers could monitor phone movement and not send signals when phones exceed a certain speed.
The reality is that distracted driving, texting and driving, and cell phone use behind the wheel is deadly and dangerous. If you or a loved one was hurt due to the negligence of another driver, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and rehabilitation expenses. Visit www.jlhawkinslaw.com today to learn more about your rights.