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Study Says Drivers Overconfident About Texting Abilities Same Week NHTSA Reports Fatalities Increase

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When CNN reported on July 23, 2012 that the number of traffic crash fatalities in the first months of 2012 had increased 13.5 percent from the same quarter in 2011, both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the American Automobile Association (AAA) agreed that “warmer-than-average winter weather” could have contributed to the spike. However, preliminary data from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) showed there was only a 1.4 percent increase, or about 9.7 billion miles, in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) for the first quarter of 2012.

NHTSA noted in its statistical summary, “… fatalities during the first quarter of the year have declined by about 30 percent from 2006 to 2011 (from 9,558 fatalities in 2006 to a projected 6,720 fatalities in 2011).” For more information, watch the video above.

NHTSA is correct to point to the decline of overall fatal accidents between 2006 and 2011, but the agency has also found that during the same time period, distraction has increased from being a factor in 10 percent of crashes in 2005 to 18 percent in 2010. In fact, just a few days after CNN reported the increase in fatalities, BusinessNewsDaily reported that yet another study had demonstrated how dangerous it is for motorists to be texting while driving. The new study from Ohio State University used eye-tracking technology and found that trying to do two visual tasks at once not only hurt performance in both tasks, but also showed people are overconfident in how well they think they can multitask.

“They're both dangerous, but as both our behavioral performance data and eyetracking data suggest, texting is more dangerous to do while driving than talking on a phone, which is not a surprise,” Zheng Wang, lead author of the study and assistant professor of communication at Ohio State University, told BusinessNewsDaily. “But what is surprising is that our results also suggest that people may perceive that texting is not more dangerous – they may think they can do a good job at two visual tasks at one time.”

This remains an unfortunate truth for many drivers, and this type of attitude needs to change in order for the traffic fatality rate to decrease again. You can find more information about car accidents on our website. If you have been involved in a collision caused by a distracted driver, you can contact our firm at (800) 235-7060 or you can use the form located on this page to have our Orlando personal injury lawyers review your case.

Wooten, Kimbrough & Normand, P.A. – Orlando personal injury attorneys