Terrible news was announced by the U.S. Transportation Department today that underscores the link between Cognitive Tunneling and Distracted Driving.
A Death Every 15 Minutes
This year so far, someone has died every 14.6 minutes on U.S. roadways. According to a report made public today by the National Highway Transporation and Safety Administration, “2015 marked the largest increase in traffic deaths since 1966 and preliminary estimates for the first half of 2016 show an alarming uptick in fatalities.” 2016 statistics thus far represents a whopping 10.4% increase in fatalities over 2015.
The U.S. is clearly on track for a record 36,000 deaths in 2016 resulting from automobile accidents. That is the largest percentage increase in nearly 50 years and represents an alarming increase in annual fatalities (equal to nearly 10 times the number of U.S. combat deaths during the 8-year war in Iraq).
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, “Research commissioned by FMCSA shows that the odds of being involved in a safety-critical event (e.g., crash, near-crash, unintentional lane deviation) is 23.2 times greater for commercial motor vehicle drivers who engage in texting while driving than for those who do not.”
Other available evidence suggests accidents associated with privately driven vehicles in which the driver is engaging in distracted behaviors now account for more than 50% of all motor vehicle accidents. Text messaging and other smartphone activities comprise the bulk of all reported distractions. Additional distractions include personal grooming, eating, reaching for objects on the seat or floor, adjustments to vehicle systems (radio, GPS, etc…), and more.
According to George Jameson of Genesis Systems, a safety and technology company, the steep rise in accident-related statistics are due largely to smartphone use by drivers. Jameson said, “Increasing use of smartphones and other in-vehicle distractions are taking drivers’ eyes off the road. Text messaging is, perhaps, the most dangerous distraction for drivers because it causes Cognitive Tunneling. In layman’s terms, it is commonly called, ‘Tunnel Vision.’ Text messaging draws the eyes and attention of drivers away from operating motor vehicles. Nobody in their right mind would read the newspaper and write an editorial at the same time; but that is, in effect, what’s going when drivers are texting.”
Genesis Systems manufactures a proprietary product for installation on passenger cars and commercial vehicles that is designed as a collision countermeasure. Federal statistics and studies provided to this author by Genesis Systems contain unambiguous data points demonstrating that nearly 50% of all collisions could be avoided when vehicles are equipped with his patented Sure Stop Technology®.
If drivers won’t stop texting, perhaps their inattention to the roadway can be addressed by countermeasures like Jameson’s Sure Stop Technology®.
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