GREENVILLE and GREENWOOD, Mississippi. According to Wired, approximately 40,000 people were killed in car accidents last year, and a growing number are injured or killed due to distracted driving. Distracted driving is nothing new. It is defined as any act that takes a person’s attention from the road. Changing the radio, eating while driving, and yes, checking your cell phone for directions or to read a text, are increasingly becoming new kinds of distractions.
According to CBS News, 61 percent of drivers admitted to texting and driving and one third admitted to checking their email. Most drivers know the risks that distracted driving poses, yet many choose to answer their phones and check their text messages while behind the wheel. Why? Some researchers believe that the way phones work and the way social networks behave creates a kind of “slot machine” kind of addictive reward pattern. When the rewards of receiving a text message or phone call are irregular, the amount of the reward chemical released in your brain when the reward is positive increases. Essentially, habitual cell phone users may be compulsively checking their phones to get a dopamine rush. Some researchers claim that the best way to stop drivers from using their phones is to get drivers to turn them off, or activate technologies that disable the phone.
According to Wired, researchers at MIT are trying to understand exactly how ordinary people behave while driving. Researchers put sensors and cameras in vehicles and monitored drivers. Rather than looking to see what happened right before an accident, researchers studied driver behavior 20 seconds before the accident took place. Researchers found that drivers were distracted long before the accident took place. Distraction isn’t a few seconds-long phenomena. Our technology also adds another wrench to the problem. When a driver is distracted due to eating or changing the radio, the driver chooses when to be distracted—usually at a stoplight or at a moment when he or she could better afford to do so. However, when a driver receives a text, the distraction can happen at any moment—when a driver is changing lanes, in a rainstorm, or beside a semi-truck.
According to Wired, researchers hope to better design in-car entertainment systems to prevent distractions. For instance, the onboard computer could theoretically prevent a driver from changing the radio or destination on a map near intersections or in places with high volumes of traffic. However, for some critics, in car entertainment systems simply should not exist at all. Others believe that drivers should not be encouraged to text and drive or use their phones behind the wheel at all.
Until there are more regulatory rules for in car entertainment, distracted driving crashes are likely to continue happening. Williams, Newman, Williams, Attorneys and Counselors at Law are personal injury lawyers in Greenville and Greenwood, Mississippi. If you or a loved one has been hurt due to the negligence or neglect of another driver, visit us at http://www.wnwlegal.com.

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