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Effects of distraction may last longer than thought

New Yorkers know, or at least should know, that distracted driving is dangerous. Looking at a cell phone, changing the radio station, eating and even talking to passengers can take one's attention off the road, creating a dangerous situation. After all, it only takes a split second of inattentiveness for a driver to cross the center line into oncoming traffic, blow through a stop sign or fail to yield to a pedestrian. As information about these dangers has disseminated, many motorists have made an active attempt to avoid distractions while moving.

But a recent study found that even those who are distracted while stopped can experience a "hangover" effect of several seconds. This means that those who check their cell phone at a stop light may still be distracted when they start to drive when the light turns green, even if their eyes are on the road. The study found that this hangover effect can last for as long as 27 seconds, which, depending on one's speed, could account for a significant distance during which the driver is not fully paying attention. Some have called this effect "inattentive blindness."

This study comes on the heels of reports that indicate that 2016 saw the most traffic fatalities in the last decade. Estimates put the total death rate at more than 40,000. Although other factors can cause these fatal accidents, such as intoxication and speeding, distraction certainly plays significant role.

Being injured in a car accident can leave a victim with serious damages. His or her physical capabilities may be temporarily or permanently limited, he or she may be emotionally devastated and his or her finances can be rocked by unexpected medical wages and lost wages. In an attempt to recoup these losses, car accident victims should consider whether pursuing a personal injury lawsuit is right for them.

Source: CNBC, "Driving while distracted comes with a 'hangover' effect, AAA says," Erin Barry, March 12, 2017

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