Can 2 Seconds Really Make a Difference?

Texting-Driving-Female-2-300x225It sounds dramatic, but yes, two seconds can be the difference between life and death. Taking your eyes off the road for only 2 seconds has been shown to double the odds of a car crash. In 2016, an estimated 3,450 people were killed in the U.S. in crashes linked to distracted driving. As Providence personal injury lawyers, Tapalian Law knows that car accidents caused by distracted driving can result in serious injuries or fatalities, yet are completely preventable. We see it every day on the streets and highways of Rhode Island- drivers performing another task like texting, adjusting the music, putting on makeup- behind the wheel. We multi-task on a daily basis at home, work, and school, but the truth is our brain cannot perform multiple tasks as well as it can when focused on one at a time. The result can be inattentional blindness, a lack of attention not associated with any vision defects. For example, a truck driver busy composing a text may miss a stop sign even though the sign is in plain view. The outcome may be a crash with another vehicle or a pedestrian. When 2 seconds can cause a death or serious personal injury, multi-tasking shouldn’t even be an option.

Negligent Driving in Rhode Island

Using a hand-held cell phone while operating a moving vehicle is illegal in Rhode Island. Hands-free devices are allowed per the June 2018 law, and while helpful do not necessarily equate to safe driving. Our brains are simply incapable of expertly performing two thinking tasks at the same time- like operating a vehicle and talking to a friend on the phone, even using a hands-free device. As Rhode Island personal injury lawyers, Tapalian Law knows that inattention to the road can easily result in a collision with a vehicle, bicyclist, pedestrian, or a stationary object like a parked car. Laws, common sense and distracted driving campaigns are important, but not always heeded. Drivers still struggle to avoid the temptation to text, check emails, and use social media when on the road. We must continue to spread awareness of the dangers of distracted driving, and also find solutions to lessen it with the aid of auto manufacturers and help from technology features.

What are Auto Manufacturers & Smartphone Makers Doing to Combat Distracted Driving?

While most car manufacturers continue to add the latest and greatest technologies to their vehicles to keep up with customer demand, some are trying to be smarter and more cognizant about how and where the technology is added and how it can be operated. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and like-minded organizations have long been urging auto manufacturers to find ways to lessen distractions to the driver and make operating a vehicle safer. For example:

  • Ability to disable, or lock-out, features while the car is in motion- like map systems.
  • Blind-spot detection.
  • Automatic braking systems that detect other vehicles and pedestrians.
  • Sensors and audio alerts when a car drifts from its lane without using a signal.
  • Infotainment screens designed not to obstruct the driver’s field of vision.
  • Chrysler’s KeySense Technology may be especially useful for teenage drivers with features like: limits on music volume, speed limit maximum, muted music when seatbelts are not fastened, automatic headlights when windshield wipers are in use.

Smartphone manufacturers are collaborating with auto makers to add features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to allow drivers to use some of the apps on their phones on a vehicles’ built-in display. Frequently, drivers are more familiar with their phones than their vehicle infotainment system and therefore the attention demand on the driver is considered “moderate” versus “high”.

What Can Drivers Do to Reduce Distractions on the Road?

As a responsible driver, there are things we can do to reduce the risk of causing a crash due to a distraction.

  • Use available technology features to block calls and texts from coming in while driving.
  • Turn off your phone ringer while driving and put your phone where it cannot easily be reached, such as the backseat.
  • Eating, drinking, and personal grooming should not take place while driving.
  • Adjust any music or mapping systems prior to beginning a trip. Or pull over to a safe spot to adjust, if needed.
  • Keep your focus on the road. Don’t let passengers distract you from the most important task- driving.

Tapalian Law urges all drivers to be present while driving and remind friends and family members, especially new drivers, of the dangers that can occur because of an inattentive vehicle operator.

Hurt by A Distracted Driver? Contact Tapalian Law

The most advanced auto technology is no replacement for an attentive driver. Improved automobile safety features are certainly beneficial, but as drivers we are accountable to ourselves, our passengers, and others on the road for taking the privilege of driving seriously. A crash can happen in a mere matter of seconds, but as RI personal injury attorney David Tapalian knows it can change the life of a person forever. The Tapalian Law firm specializes in helping injured victims of car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, bike accidents, and work-related accidents. If you have been hurt in a Rhode Island car accident or Massachusetts auto collision, you want the experienced team at Tapalian Law on your side. Attorney David Tapalian is an experienced RI and MA personal injury lawyer who has successfully helped hundreds of clients seek compensation for their accident related injuries. Tapalian Law offers a free consultation. Call us today at


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