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How long does driver distraction last?

On Behalf of | Aug 31, 2022 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

It’s clear that a driver is distracted while they’re actively using their cellphone. If you pass someone who is texting and driving, it can be very unnerving as you realize just how dangerous this is. It’s very clear that the person is not looking at the road and not paying attention to what they’re doing, despite driving a 4,000-pound vehicle at highway speeds.

However, don’t assume that someone putting their phone down means that they are no longer distracted. The truth is that distraction lasts after a driver sets the phone down, and the amount of time may surprise you.

It takes 27 seconds for a driver to refocus their attention

What studies have found is that distraction lasts for about 27 seconds after someone sets the phone down. So, a driver who gets to a red light may believe that it’s safe to text while they’re at the light, merely hanging the phone up when the light turns green again. This does seem to make logical sense, but the reality is that that person is still distracted for half a minute after they start driving again.

This could be why some accidents happen to drivers who honestly believe that they didn’t make a mistake. Someone may shut the phone down and then pull into an intersection at the wrong time because they’re still thinking about their phone conversation, causing a car accident. They don’t even realize how distracted they are. 

What this means is that cellphones are an even bigger issue than we already knew that they were. If you’ve been injured by a driver who was using their phone in the car or who was distracted in some other fashion, you need to know how to seek financial compensation.