Distracted driving continues to be a growing problem across the country. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,450 people died as a result of distracted driving accidents in 2016 alone, and in 2015 there were almost 400,000 injuries reported due to distracted driving.
New research data published by the American Automobile Association (AAA) finds that in addition to cell phone use, distracted driving also occurs with the use of other technology inside the vehicle, such as navigation systems and even the radio. Cell phone use has long been known to be a distraction. California has cell phone laws in place that prohibit the use of handheld devices for texting or talking while driving. Although these laws are in place, the fines are low at $20 for the first offense and $50 for any subsequent offense(s). Many people still text while driving, even though it is dangerous.
Technology and Distraction
Distracted driving may occur when the driver takes his or her eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, or mind off of driving. Texting while driving is extremely dangerous because it requires you to lose focus in all three areas. The same holds true for the use of other types of technology in the vehicle.
The recent AAA study found that in-vehicle technology that is provided as part of the car and other outside technology can also be dangerous and distracting. Vehicles that have infotainment systems have advanced capabilities that create new types of distractions for drivers. The study also looked at new vehicle technology with increasingly complex menus. Drivers must take their focus off the road to use touch screens or voice commands. These tasks are not related to driving and can therefore cause a distraction.
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Research
The latest research reviewed infotainment systems in 40 new vehicles. The study looked at both visual and mental demand along with the time it took to handle a function in the system. The task with the most distraction was programming navigation. This caused drivers to take their eyes off the road for an average of 40 seconds.
Of the systems that were reviewed, 17 caused very high demand, 12 had high demand, and 11 had moderate demand. The goal would be for manufacturers to create systems with low demand. The study also found that Apple CarPlay as well as similar Android systems were less demanding than in-vehicle systems, although they still produced moderate distraction. Even these non-native systems kept driver’s eyes off the road for 33 seconds. This would be about the length of SEVEN football fields when traveling at a speed of 45 miles per hour.
Distracted driving continues to be a major factor or contributing factor in many accidents. When a distracted driver causes an accident, it may cause serious injuries and damages to others. The distracted driver would likely be considered negligent. If you were seriously injured in an accident with a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more.
Contact the experienced legal team at the Law Office of Patrick G. Shea to discuss your case today.