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Negligence on the road may only take seconds

A new study suggests that drivers in Illinois and across the U.S. could increase the risk of causing an accident by looking away from the road for just two seconds. The report suggests that such a brief diversion can negatively impact performance and compromise roadway safety.

Previously, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration advised drivers to limit in-vehicle glances to two seconds or less. However, scientists from the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety discovered that the time it takes for a driver to readjust focus to the road may still affect awareness and control. Researchers observed experienced drivers' reactions to hazardous and non-hazardous elements and concluded that a two-second interruption lowers the driver's ability to act in response.

Drivers in the study were asked to rate their performance. Despite their inattention, most distracted drivers gave themselves passing grades. Lack of awareness among drivers led researchers to conclude that unsafe driving behavior will likely continue. The study has been submitted to inform the public and influence policies that may deter and prevent potential accidents and fatalities from occurring on the road.

As technological devices become more prevalent in society and daily life, distractions are often within arm's reach. The temptation of answering a phone call or text message while operating a motor vehicle has come under scrutiny and subject to punishment in some states. Negligent drivers may find themselves culpable in accidents that result in damage or injury. Safety campaigns may help increase awareness; however, a professional attorney may help administer justice to victims in such circumstances.

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