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Can a human brain really handle texting and driving?

People talk about multitasking these days as if anyone can do it-but then there is the matter of texting and driving. How much mental activity does it take to operate a vehicle while either reading an incoming message or punching in information on your cell phone to text to someone?

Either way, the effort takes your eyes off the road and forces your brain to attempt managing doing two things at once. Sometimes you simply take too much for granted, and that can be deadly.

The cognitive load

The human brain has what is known as a cognitive load. This refers to the amount of mental activity it can take on at any one time. If you are behind the wheel and decide to send a text message, you are robbing your brain of a considerable amount of cognitive load. Consequently, your ability to drive properly is reduced. Studies show that drivers who are texting vary more in their lane positions and following distances than drivers who are concentrating solely on the road ahead. In fact, their reaction time is affected more by texting than it would be by driving drunk.

Texting versus talking

It is sometimes argued that use of a cell phone while driving is no more dangerous than talking to a passenger in the car. However, the conversation between driver and passenger will ebb and flow with the responsibilities that are placed on the driver. A passenger can also warn the driver of an upcoming traffic or roadway issue.

Distracted driving is increasing

In 2015, distracted drivers in our state were involved in 15,574 crashes, according to the figures compiled by the Colorado Department of Transportation, and distracted driving was responsible for 68 of the 546 traffic fatalities. It is an issue that exists across all age groups. The injuries alone may result in extended hospital visits and the need for legal assistance as the injured parties recover and turn their attention to cause, effect and the financial compensation they might expect.


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