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The dangers of distracted driving not resolved by new technology

The dangers of distracted driving have become well-known over the last three years. They have led to laws controlling the use of cell phones behind the wheel in many states, and the near-universal prohibition of texting while driving. Nevertheless, drivers across the state of Wisconsin still text while driving.

Moreover, there are technological advancements that appear to encourage the practice by ostensibly making it safer to read or send text messages. For example, some systems allow a driver to hear text messages, and to send voice based messages as well. Also a new offering may allow drivers to see texts on a glass display on the dashboard in front of them, so that a driver does not have to take his or her eyes off the road.

However, a number of studies suggest that even “floating” text messages may not be enough to make texting while driving safe. Essentially, a study released by the American Automobile Association’s Foundation for Traffic Safety found that a driver’s brain can only process a certain amount of information at one time, and that too much stimulation may result in an element being missed. This is why drivers can’t memorize phone numbers and write letters at the same time.

In the same fashion, it may not be possible for drivers to read text messages and notice stopped traffic at the same time. Because of this, it may be in a driver’s best interests to reduce distractions while driving. While cell phones have garnered the brunt of this criticism, eating while driving and putting on makeup are prime examples of what can get a driver into trouble. 

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