The cars, trucks, and SUVs in auto dealer showrooms in Michigan and around the country are packed with sophisticated technology, but many road safety experts believe information and entertainment systems that feature touch screens and that offer internet connectivity and cellphone integration are distracting drivers and causing accidents. Distraction is especially dangerous for younger drivers. According to traffic accident data, about one in five of the teens who are involved in fatal crashes each year are distracted by an electronic device of some sort.
Vehicle manufacturers know that electronic systems capable of streaming movies, logging onto social media platforms, and compiling text messages are attractive to car buyers, but they are also aware of the dangers this type of technology poses to other road users. To solve this conundrum, several solutions are being developed that are designed to make automobile information and entertainment systems less distracting for drivers. These solutions range from devices that block incoming notifications and text messages to applications that connect to GPS systems and that automatically disable certain features when vehicles are moving.
Many people associate distracted driving with cellphone use and believe that using hands-free devices is much safer. While pairing a cellphone with a car’s electronics system allows a driver to keep his or her eyes on the road and hands on the wheel, it does not prevent them from succumbing to cognitive distraction. This is the type of distraction that is experienced when the mind wanders, and it can be just as deadly as not paying attention to the road ahead. When Australian researchers investigated the benefits of hands-free devices in 2016, they discovered that these supposedly safe features were just as distracting as handheld cellphones.
Suing distracted drivers
If you are injured in a car accident that may have been caused by a distracted driver, an experienced personal injury attorney could file a lawsuit on your behalf seeking compensation for your lost income, hospital bills, and pain and suffering. If the police investigation does not reach any firm conclusions, an attorney could look for evidence of distraction by using a subpoena to obtain the negligent driver’s wireless service records.