Distracted driving has become a significant hazard on the road. Most drivers are aware of the importance of maintaining their focus on the road ahead and the vehicles surrounding them. Unfortunately, it only takes one person not paying attention to provoke a collision leading to damage, injury, or even death.
Technology, such as cell phones, are amongst the leading causes of distracted driving when misused, but it also has the potential to be a solution. To best understand the issue, one should look at the problem, what’s causing it, and how technology might be able to help solve it.
The Problem: Facts About Distracted Driving
Simply put, the less attention you’re paying to the road, the less time you have to react to changing conditions on the road. Recent statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety have found that:
- Distracted driving lead to the deaths of 3,166 people.
- On average, 25% of all motor vehicle collisions are due to distracted driving.
- For teen drivers, distracted driving accounts for 58% of all crashes.
- Approximately 2.9% of drivers use handheld cell phones on the road, meaning that it only takes a few distracted drivers to account for a quarter of all collisions on the road.
The Cause: Reasons for Distracted Driving
Distracted driving often is due to texting, talking on a cellphone, otherwise using a mobile device, putting on makeup, eating, socializing in the car, and reading. Out of all the causes, the most common cause of accidents is passengers at 15%, according to an AAA Foundation report. Meanwhile, texting accounts for 12% of all distracted driving accidents.
By far, those drivers most susceptible to distracted driving are teen drivers, from ages 15 to 19. They are more likely to check or use their phones in the car, or to treat it as a social space, inviting their friends to come with them who can, in turn, distract them. Of the 3,166 deaths, 297 of those people studies by the NHTSA died due to a distracted teen driver.
The Solution: Technology May Offer the Solution to Distracted Driving
There is a range of technological advancements that could help reduce some of the risks of distracted driving. One such device is the Lytx DriveCam that records video as well as audio, braking and accelerometer data when triggered by certain behaviors. This data can be reviewed to help improve driver’s actions. Newer cars are also equipped with sensors to alert drivers when they leave their lanes, have approaching rear traffic, or if their blind spot is occupied. Many vehicles now also come with automatic emergency braking, auto-steering, autonomous cruise control, and Bluetooth voice controls.
One of the most simple approaches to preventing distracted driving is a cellphone blocking app that activates while in a vehicle that is moving. These apps stop the driver from getting alerts for texts, receiving calls, or operating their cellphone in the car. Additionally, app designers like Apple and Google are designing interfaces that allow limited cellphone usage while ensuring safety. CarPlay and Android Auto are apps that simplify controls, require fewer taps, have larger buttons and minimize time looking at the screen.
Of course, technology isn’t the only solution. Better education about the dangers of distracted driving, especially of teen drivers, is essential. For instance, in the time it takes to read a typical text (5 seconds) while driving 55mph, a vehicle can travel the length of a football field. The more we help our younger drivers recognize the consequences of even a few moments of inattention, the safer the roads will be for all of us.
Have You Been Injured Due to A Distracted Driving Accident?
If your loved one was a victim of a distracted driving accident, we can help you recover compensation. Contact Charles Bean & Associates, PLLC. Our attorneys are immediately available to discuss your personal injury claim and to provide you with a case evaluation.