What can you accomplish in two seconds? Probably not very much. In fact, the term “two seconds” is something many people use to indicate that hardly any time has passed. You may ask someone to give you two seconds to complete a task or joke that food is edible if it spends only two seconds on the floor.
Nevertheless, two seconds is probably the amount of time the driver looked away from the road before causing the accident that left you injured. In fact, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports that about 14 percent of accidents on U.S. roads occur after two seconds of inattention.
Is anyone paying attention?
The U.S. National Safety Council is taking seriously a Norwegian study that identifies young men as the most likely to allow things to distract them while driving. However, after surveying hundreds of drivers of all ages, the researchers also learned that many drivers feel they can't control the things that distract them, and others report being unable to control their own behavior when faced with distractions. You may also be interested in these results from the study:
- Drivers are more susceptible to distractions if they drive frequently.
- Drivers with extroverted personalities may have difficulty resisting distractions.
- Drivers who don't see anything wrong with distracted driving are more likely to engage in distracting behaviors behind the wheel.
- Having friends in the car or seeking music on the radio in addition to using mobile devices are the things that typically distract young male drivers.
- Older women are less likely to succumb to distractions while driving.
While finding a link between age or gender and the frequency of distracted driving behaviors may be interesting to researchers, such information probably makes little difference to you if you are already suffering the consequences of an accident caused by a distracted driver.
Do as I say, not as I do
Perhaps the most chilling result from the recent study is that most people don't see their own driving as a problem. You may have noticed this among your New Jersey friends or family members. Like many drivers, they may have felt angry seeing other drivers texting behind the wheel but thought nothing of checking their own phones when they received notifications.
The researchers hope their study will be the beginning of a discussion that will help all drivers be more aware of their intentions while driving. Additionally, new technology may soon prevent drivers from allowing their phones and in-car systems to take their attention away from the road. Until then, the sad truth is that there will likely continue to be victims like you who suffer the consequences of someone else's neglect and carelessness.