Multi-tasking While Driving

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Most people are familiar with the term multi-tasking. The term, which was originally used in the computer engineering industry, means to perform more than one task at a time. While computers are able to multi-task without difficulty, studies have shown that human performance suffers greatly when multiple tasks are attempted at one time.

Specifically, recent research conducted at Stanford University found that multi-tasking is less productive than doing a single task at a time. The research also revealed that people who attempt to perform multiple tasks at a time do not perform any of the tasks as well as they would have if they had completed each task individually.

For those who think that some people may be better at multi-tasking than others, the Stanford University study revealed that those who multi-tasked the most and who thought that it boosted their performance were actually worse at multi-tasking than individuals who prefer to do one thing at a time. The performance of multi-taskers suffers because they have trouble organizing their thoughts and filtering out irrelevant information. They also lose time each time they switch from one task to another.

Research also shows that multi-tasking lowers an individual’s IQ. A study performed at the University of London found that participants who tried to perform more than one cognitive task at a time experienced a 15 point decline in their IQ score. This decrease in IQ caused by multi-tasking meant that the multi-tasking individuals obtained IQ scores that were similar to those of an 8-year-old child. The decrease in multi-taskers’ IQ scores also was similar to the decrease that would be expected if the individual had smoked marijuana or stayed up all night.

Multi-Tasking And Driving

Despite its disadvantages, Americans have become frequent multi-taskers and this includes multi-tasking while driving. Multi-tasking is particularly problematic when driving because of the level of distraction it causes.

Experts note that distracted driving can come in three forms:

  • Cognitive or mental distraction – when a driver’s mind is not focused on the task of driving because the driver is thinking about other things;
  • Visual distraction – when a driver is looking at things other than the road ahead; and
  • Manual distraction – when a driver takes one or both hands off the wheel for any reason.

Multi-Tasking When Driving Can Lead To Car Accidents

Recently, the local news carried a story about a Georgia man who was ticketed under Georgia’s distracted driving law for eating a while driving. According to the report, the driver had ordered a double quarter-pounder with cheese from a McDonald’s shortly before being pulled over by a police officer. The officer apparently followed the driver for two miles before signaling him to pull over and issuing him a ticket for distracted driving because he was “eating while driving.” According to the driver, at the time of the stop, he was informed by the officer that “You can’t just go down the road eating a hamburger.”

While the story is humorous at first glance, anyone who drives on Florida or South Georgia roadways for any amount of time probably has seen other drivers performing all sorts of other tasks while driving, including texting, talking on phones, putting on makeup, shaving, reading paperwork or documents, writing a note, looking for something in a purse or briefcase, changing the radio station, talking to passengers in the car, and dealing with dogs or other animals in the vehicle. And any of these forms of distraction can lead to careless driving.

Similar to Georgia, Florida law prohibits “careless driving.” Section 316.1925 specifically requires drivers to drive in a “careful and prudent manner, having regard for the width, grade, curves, corners traffic, and all other attendant circumstances, so as not to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person.” When someone’s careless driving leads to an injury-producing accident, the accident victim or family has the right to seek financial recovery for the injuries and harm caused by the driver’s negligence. If you have questions about filing a lawsuit for injuries caused by a multi-tasking driver, please call the experienced Tallahassee and South Georgia personal injury attorneys at Fasig & Brooks at (850) 222-3232 or use our convenient online contact form. We will be happy to meet with you to discuss your legal options to help you move forward with your claims and your life.