No You Cannot Multi-Task . . . Especially When Driving

In our Chicago legal practice, we focus on people injured by others on the job, on the road, in healthcare and other settings. Serious injury through needless transportation accidents happens every day. In recent years, highway fatalities in Illinois have been on the increase. Why?

While no one can definitively answer that question right now, across the nation fatality figures are seeing a boost from distracted driving. While annual public safety campaigns warn of the dangers of drivers impaired by alcohol, we are only now realizing that every day most of us also qualify as impaired drivers at some point during our drive time.

A 2007 study at the University of Utah broke early ground on the concept of inattention blindness. Inattention blindness is the term used to describe a process where the brain unconsciously filters information out of its perceptive field to maintain focus and attention on a task at hand. In the case of cell phone use and driving, cell phone conversations win out, whether hands-free or not.

The University of Utah study found drivers engaged in cell phone conversations while trying to operate a car were driving impaired, literally unable to see obstacles, signs, signals and cars in front of them. At its perceptual core, the brain of a distracted driver does not see the environment correctly while the driver is engaging in an additional sensory task like talking on the phone.

On the road or off, there is no pride in multi-tasking. You can do one task well or several tasks poorly. When driving, save the conversation for later. If injured by a distracted driver, seek legal advice from a strong auto accident lawyer to gain compensation for your injury and their lack of attention.