April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. While the average driver faces numerous distractions while driving from eating food, to screaming children, and even distractions on the road, one of the top dangers of distracted driving is a particularly dangerous- cognitive.
Cognitive distraction is defined in the study as a “lack of cognitive engagement in the primary driving task due to cognitive engagement in the cell phone conversation which could result in lack of perception or delay due to latency in mental context shifting.” It is especially dangerous because it takes a driver’s attention off of the road.
The problem is urgent- the New England Journal of Medicine reported that drivers who use cellular phones while driving are up to four times as likely to get into an accident as those who don’t use a phone.
A study at MIT found that cell phone conversation degraded the perceived driving performance – and the driving ability of the driver significantly increased with the cognitive difficulty of the conversation. The more absorbed and engaged the driver is in the conversation, the worse driver they were.
In other words, shifting our thoughts from the road to the topic of the conversation requires a mental effort which takes away our attention on the road. Current regulation limits drivers from using handheld cell phone while driving. While that addresses the physical and visual distraction component, the legislation does not account for the mental distraction it implies.
The risk only increases for business owners who use commercial autos for business operations. Cognitive distractions on the road can have significant consequences that impact not only the safety of your employees and other drivers on the road, but business costs as well.
NY commercial auto insurance coveralls all the vehicles (autos and trucks) against property and liability risk and covers employees who are operating their personal autos while working for your own business. At The Rubin Group, our New York based Brokers will create a business auto insurance package tailored to your company’s specific needs. Contact us today for more information (877) 806-7239.