Can in-car technology reduce distracted driving accidents?

Technology has been advancing at a rapid rate. Not only have smartphones given people in Florida the ability to do so much more than make a simple phone call, but new cars themselves are also being equipped with technology that allows a driver to complete a variety of tasks that they’d normally do through their cellphones by using a touch screen on the car itself. This technology is touted as a safer option than using a cellphone while behind the wheel. However, does this technology really decrease distracted driving?

According to a professor from the University of Utah, motorists who used Google’s Android Auto or Apple’s CarPlay were able to get their attention back to the task of driving five seconds faster when making a phone call and 15 seconds faster when inputting information into the vehicle’s navigation system. However, AAA has stated that this technology does not meet their standard that the use of these systems be no more demanding than changing the radio station. AAA goes on to state that these systems should lock users out while the user is driving, per federal government recommendations.

Cellphone use has reportedly been the cause of 14 percent of fatal distracted driving accidents according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. According to an AAA survey, nearly 60 percent of respondents reported that drivers making phone calls while behind the wheel was a “very serious threat.” Moreover, 78 percent of respondents also reported that texting and driving was a “significant danger.” However, nearly half of these respondents reported that they themselves talked on the phone while behind the wheel and a further 35 percent admitted to texting and driving.

So, while people might think that in-car technology might make driving safer, this is not always the case. Distracted driving in any form breaches a driver’s duty of care to operate their vehicles in a manner that is safe under the circumstances. When this leads to a distracted driving accident that injures or kills another person, the distracted driver is often at fault and could be held liable for their actions. The dangers of distracted driving are well known, so it is important that people avoid doing anything while driving that takes their eyes off the road, their mind off the task of driving or their hands off the wheel. By taking these precautions, it may be possible to prevent a distracted driving crash.

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