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Study shows cellphones and conversations distract drivers

The journal Human Factors has published a meta-analysis of various studies that concern the impact of conversation, both via phone and with other passengers, on driving performance. The conclusions of the analysis may sound familiar, but drivers in Colorado should take them to heart the next time they face distractions while on the road.

Conversing on the phone can slow down drivers' ability to identify hazards and react to them. Many drivers on the phone also fail to slow down and give adequate space to the car in front of them. Conversation can keep drivers from looking left and right and checking their rearview mirror. Even speaking on a hands-free phone will lower a driver's awareness of the environment. Regardless of whether a conversation is engaging or not, a driver's speed, distance and lane position all suffer from its presence.

The very act of dialing the phone can increase the risk for a collision with pedestrians, vehicles or infrastructure because it takes the driver's eyes away from the road. This means that other actions, like adjusting the radio or air conditioning, can also be distracting. Though daydreaming can also be a distraction, phone use has been demonstrated to have a more significant effect. As to the effect of music on driving, research results are mixed.

The fact remains that distracted driving is a form of careless driving and can be avoided. When drivers or pedestrians incur injuries due to another's negligence, they may consult with a lawyer about filing a claim that covers their medical bills and other losses. A lawyer might hire investigators to recreate the accident and gather the police report, medical documents and other important paperwork. The lawyer may then be able to negotiate with the other party's auto insurance carrier for a reasonable settlement.

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