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AAA finds 'hangover' effect among distracted drivers

West Virginia families are torn apart every day due to the loss of a loved ones in a car accidents. Statistics show that 2016 had the highest number of road fatalities over the past decade with just over 40,000 deaths. One reason for the rise in fatalities is the increase in cell phone usage in America. As of 2014, 80 percent of drivers stated that they owned a cell phone. Many of these fatal car accidents are caused by drivers using a cell phone.

Most drivers are probably aware of the dangers of using a cell phone while driving. However, many of us assume that the distraction only lasts for the amount of time spent looking at the device. This is not the case, according to a new study by AAA Foundation for Traffic & Safety.

The study found that a driver's mind may stay distracted for up to 27 seconds after using their phones to send texts, make phone calls, or update social media. Researchers refer to this extended distraction period as the "hangover effect." This essentially means that even if you use your phone while stopped at a stop light, your mind may still be distracted when you put down your phone and start moving again. As a result of this distraction, many drivers may experience inattention blindness, where they do not see what is in front of them even when their eyes are on the road.

New voice activated technology and other systems may be helpful in putting an end to the issue. While these systems are still distracting, they allow drivers to keep their eyes on the road while making phone calls. No matter what technology comes out, it is important to note that any form of distraction on the road can result in a devastating accident. Those who have suffered harm or lost a loved one to the negligence of a distracted driver should carefully consider whether pursuing legal action supports their best interests.

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

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