Although New Car Technology Is Often Advertised as Helpful in Preventing Accidents, In Fact, Many of These Features Distract Drivers More
These days, distracted driving has taken on a whole new reality: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it claims approximately 3,500 lives every year, and injures an additional 400,000 people.
This just gets worse as new technology diverts the driver’s attention from the road; technology such as texting, talking on one’s cell phone, typing into a navigation system, etc.; alongside traditional distractions such as eating, drinking, talking to people, etc. Teens and others up through age 24 are the most common age group to engage in distracted driving.
In addition, new-model cars now come with more driver distractions than ever before, including navigation systems that take 40 seconds or so to program. According to the AAA Foundation, out of 30 different new car models, 23 had technology that demanded the driver pay a significant amount of attention to the technology while the car was moving.
While more and more automakers seek to address the issue of distracted driving by adding more semi-autonomous features, many of these features not only end up distracting drivers even more, but also provide them with a false sense of security.
A recent survey of more than 1,000 U.S. drivers indicated that while drivers understand the dangers of distracted driving when it comes to high-tech car features, many were still willing to risk engaging in distracted driving. Interestingly, according to that same survey, one out of four drivers deactivated at least one of these features and, overall, drivers with in-car tech tend to be slightly more distracted than those without. One out of 10 surveyed individuals reported personally experiencing a close call or accident caused by their own distracted driving due to these features.
Many states now have laws against engaging with certain types of technology while driving. In Texas, for example, a new law went into effect in September 2017, which makes use of a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle a criminal offense.
Both Apple and Google have features that work with a car display. The issue has also become the source of litigation: Last year, Apple faced numerous lawsuits from plaintiffs claiming that the company should have installed technology that could prevent crashes caused by distracted drivers who lack the self-control to stop using their phones when they’re behind the wheel.
Whether or not manufacturers and service providers will be held liable for some of the accidents that result from this technology remains to be seen, however, to date, no major smartphone manufacturer has launched technology that forces users not to engage with it while driving.
If you have been injured by a distracted driver—or have lost a loved one due to distracted driving—contact our accident and injury attorneys today to find out how we can help.