Distracted Driving and the Brain (Part II of II)
In my last post, I talked about the narrow set of actions proposed to tackle distracted driving becuase the problem has been shrunk to “texting while driving.”
Make no mistake, texting while driving is dangerous and irresponsible behavior and should be banned. However, there are a significant number of accidents that occur where there is no device being used behind the wheel. We should not be satisfied with our legislators rallying around a politically expedient solution. We need to hold our policy makers, insurance carriers, and traffic safety leaders accountable for making drivers aware of the brain’s importance in safe driving and letting them know there are proven solutions to improving performance and safety behind the wheel.
Research about how the brain works and its impact in situations such as driving make it clear that brain performance is the biggest factor in driving safely. Whether it be responding to visual cues such as tracking multiple objects, widening peripheral view or maintaining a clear sight of what is straight ahead, it is the brain’s job to process and respond to the thousands of stimuli and information taken in every second. And according to our research at Posit Science on brain plasticity, the brain has the ability to rewire and therefore improve the cognitive functions that are essential for safe driving.
So many lives can be saved on the roads today if people would only pay attention to their real reason for being behind the wheel – to operate a motor vehicle – while we help drivers deal with the multitude of distractions that get in their way of doing it safely.