Why drivers can’t help being distracted

Most drivers understand that texting, using social media, playing a game or watching a video while driving is not safe behavior. Yet many still do it. The question is: Why?

A recent study at the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction now has answers for us. According to founder David Greenfield, the addictive nature of smart phones with its bells and pings make it hard for the owner to ignore them even when driving.

The study asserts that smart phones are affecting the circuitry of our brains, giving the body a euphoric shot of dopamine whenever there is the allure of a new message making our device buzz, vibrate or chirp. The driver wants to know who is texting them or who tagged them in social media, and the anticipation of that immediate gratification actually leads to a higher burst of dopamine.

Smart phones are like food, sex, drugs or alcohol

The dopamine reward centers effect the body the same way eating a favorite food, the pleasure of sex or using alcohol. Unfortunately, our brains in an elevated dopamine state of anticipation literally shut down the use of judgment and reasoning, which occurs in the prefrontal cortex.

Positive reinforcement for bad judgment

We engage in using our smart phones while behind the wheel because we have done it before. Those who are in the habit of engaging in this behavior are lulled into thinking that no accident will happen or no one will be injured because they do it all the time and nothing happens. Unfortunately, that is true until that fateful moment when something does happen.

Hands-free multitasking still not a good idea

Other studies find that using a hands free device slows drivers’ reaction, making them more dangerous than if they had been drinking. Many are already see this type of distracted behavior at work – businesses are finding that the whole concept multitasking is actually an illusion where it slows done the productivity of employees.

We know that its wrong but we still do it

According to a 2013 survey of a 1,000 adult drivers, it was determined that 98 percent of them realize that texting while driving is bad. However, more than 50 percent of those same drivers still did it. This is a logical disconnect that can only be explained through the prism of mental and physical addiction.

Often drivers injured in an accident will know or suspect that the other driver was distracted. A personal injury attorney can guide them through the process of resolving the matter.

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Steven H. Dorne

Attorney Steven H. Dorne

Attorney Steven H. Dorne is an accomplished lawyer who practices in state and federal courts in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. He brings more than 30 years of experience and a long record of success to each case. His law practice is distinguished by careful preparation and thorough analysis of each case...

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