Like many other states in this country, California bars drivers from using cellular phones while they’re behind the wheel — but distractions have always been around. It doesn’t take much for drivers to let their attention wander from time to time. What makes cellular phones so dangerous that they warranted a whole law to prohibit drivers from using them?
It has a lot to do with smartphones. Unlike old mobile phones, smartphones are powerful little pocket computers that can be used for everything from phone calls to games — and their touchscreen interface requires much more attention from the user than old mobile phones ever did.
There are three main types of distractions that plague drivers:
- Visual ones, or anything that requires a driver to divert their eyes from the road, including billboards and traffic accidents
- Manual ones, or anything that requires a driver to take a hand off the wheel, like when someone fishes around for change to drop in an approaching toll box
- Cognitive ones, or anything that causes a driver to diver to their mind from the task of driving, which can even include animated conversations with a passenger
Smartphones roll all three distractions up into one tiny little bundle. It’s not possible, for example, to pick up a phone and type out a text to someone when you’re behind the wheel without diverting your eyes, a hand and at least part of your attention to the phone’s screen and the message you’re sending.
Do yourself a favor: Put your phone away and adjust its settings so that you won’t be interrupted while driving. It’s better for your safety.
If you do encounter a distracted driver out there on the roads, your injuries can be significant. Find out more about your right to seek fair compensation for your losses.