The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that an estimated 3,500 people die in car accidents because of distracted driving every year, and it is estimated that some 400,000 are injured. Many of those who suffer due to distracted drivers are bicyclists and pedestrians.
In an effort to combat this epidemic, car manufacturers across the board are creating new vehicle technology to keep drivers safe. However, some evidence suggests that new auto technology has come full circle. Too many buttons, directions, screens, and controls are distracting to drivers, placing them at an even higher risk for accidents and injuries.
From handsfree Bluetooth phone systems to cars that sound alarms when they drift out of the proper lane, most of us may be willing to shell out big bucks for newer vehicles that may offer only the illusion of safety.
What is Distracted Driving?
The NHTSA, an organization that regulates the safety of motor vehicles and related equipment, defines distracted driving as a specific type of inattention that occurs when drivers take their attention off the road to focus on another activity.
Although many of us are aware of the link between distracted driving and higher accident risks, we may not be aware that some of these distractive behaviors are quite commonplace. For example:
- Fiddling with radio or navigation systems
- Taking to others in the vehicle
- Cell phone use or texting
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety believes much of the safety and navigation technology found in newer vehicles may be unnecessarily complicated, causing drivers to take their hands off the wheel and their eyes off the road for extended periods of time. Additionally, overly-complicated technology can lead to cognitive distractions, especially confusion.
The NHTSA lists three areas that distracted driving tasks fall into:
- Visual: Tasks that require a driver to take their eyes off the road
- Manual: Tasks that require taking a hand off the steering wheel
- Cognitive: Tasks that involve thinking about something other than driving
The simple act of turning the radio on could be both a visual and a manual distraction, increasing the driver’s risk of collision. Research has shown that the more overloaded a driver is with visual, cognitive, and manual distractions, the less likely they are to be aware of stop signs, red lights, pedestrians, and other hazards.
AAA Navigation System Test
To test their theory, AAA teamed with the University of Utah to study the effectiveness of navigation systems built into vehicles verses smartphone-based systems. The results suggest that although the smartphone-based navigation systems could be improved for driver safety, they were actually less confusing to use. Additionally, the smart phones were easier to manipulate, and pulled up data faster, allowing drivers to give their attention back to the road.
Delaware County Personal Injury Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Advocate for Those Injured in a Distracted Driving Car Accident
If you or someone you love was injured in a car accident, contact an experienced Delaware County car accident lawyer at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. Regardless of how your accident occurred, our compassionate and dedicated personal injury lawyers can evaluate the details of your case to determine what type of compensation may be available to you. For a free consultation, call 610-565-3701 today or contact us online. With offices located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we work with clients throughout Delaware County, Chester County, Montgomery County, and throughout the Philadelphia metropolitan area.