Understanding Distracted Driver Latency

Distracted Driver Latency

There’s no way that you cannot know about the danger of distracted driving. With countless reports of tragic accidents caused by someone looking away from the task at hand—driving—and looking down at their phone, GPS, music selection, or email, we are all inundated with proof that distracted driving is just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. And it’s much more common now.

But there’s another issue drivers must be aware of, and it’s known as “distracted driver latency.” This is the time period after a driver has stopped looking at a device and has put his or her eyes back on the road, but the brain has not yet focused back on driving and is still distracted by the cognitive task the driver was focused on in the first place. The latency period is the 27-second period of time when your brain is still not focused on driving after a distraction. Researchers are saying that this distracted driver latency period can be as dangerous as the time spent looking down at a device while driving.

Distracted Driving Statistics

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in an average year, over 421,000 people are injured in car accidents that involve a driver who was distracted in some way. For texting and driving, specifically, there are an estimated 330,000 traffic accidents that result in serious injury every year, which means that over 78% of all distracted drivers are distracted because they have been texting while driving. Think about that. Almost eight out of 10 drivers you share the road with are distracted while they’re driving, and you very well may be one of the eight.

In 2016, according to the NHTSA, 3,450 people lost their lives due to distracted driving, and now with research being done about the latency period of distracted driving, more deaths will be attributed to the use of devices while behind the wheel of a car.

Recent Reports

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has reported that the typical length of the distracted driver latency period is about 27 seconds. Research shows that upon completing a task with a GPS system or a phone, a driver’s brain does not fully re-engage with driving for a full 27 seconds. This means that reading a work email while stopped at a red light, which many people believe is an OK thing to do, continues to take your attention from driving for a full 27 seconds after you put your phone down having finished the email.

With phones becoming smarter every year, the number of distractions while driving continues to increase, making distracted driver latency an even more serious concern. Not only is texting or hand-held talking a serious issue, but some drivers have reported playing games and using social media while driving. A study by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) reported that 68% of teens admitted to using apps while driving. Young drivers face many challenges while driving due to their lack of experience, so when distracted driver latency is added to the mix, the result will most likely be deadly.

If you or someone you love has been injured or killed by a distracted driver in South Bend, Mishawaka, Granger, Elkhart, La Porte, or anywhere in Indiana, please contact Gardner & Rans, P.C., Attorneys at Law, to schedule a no-cost consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys.

Lynn Fugaro About Lynn Fugaro

Lynn has been writing web content since 2007 after a lengthy career as a middle school English teacher and administrator. Writing web content seemed a natural progression following a career teaching adolescents about the beauty and the power of the written word, and she quickly got hooked on the challenge of writing SEO- and reader-friendly content that could be found on Page 1 of Google and other search engines.

Having written content for physicians and attorneys for the first few years of her writing career, Lynn has most recently produced original, informative, entertaining, and relevant content for the entertainment industry, the automotive industry, senior communities, pet rescues and numerous other businesses hoping to increase website traffic and page views for all clients looking for informative, vibrant content.