The issue of distracted driving isn't new. Since cars took to the road, drivers' attention has wandered away from the road and caused accidents. Since people began talking to passengers, eating, shaving or even reading a newspaper, the danger existed.
However, technological advances in recent years increased instances of distracted driving, with serious and deadly consequences. The technology that should make life easier also involves complicated maneuvers to use, which creates significant distractions. In 2017, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released research regarding technology and distracted driving.
What the AAA Foundation discovered
The foundation evaluated 30 vehicles that rolled off the assembly line in 2017. Each of them included "infotainment" systems that require a driver's mental, visual and sometimes tactile involvement in order to use. During the evaluation, drivers had to perform the following actions while in motion:
- Send a text message
- Make a phone call
- Program the navigation system
- Tune the radio
The final factor the study measured involved how long it took the drivers to complete each task. The results were alarming. None of the systems required only a low level of attention, and programming the navigation systems created the highest demand for attention and took approximately 40 seconds to complete.
Even voice-command and hands-free devices took too much of a driver's attention off the road. Many people believe that these devices increase safety, but in reality, they still create enough distraction to contribute to accidents. You may be included in the number of people here in Texas and elsewhere who believe that the technology wouldn't be in the vehicle if it wasn't safe to use. Sadly, that assumption is incorrect.
If use of an infotainment system caused you harm
You may understand that cellphones, GPS navigation systems and other in-vehicle technologies create dangerous distractions, but another driver may not. If you suffered injuries in an accident involving a driver who used one of these infotainment systems just prior to it, you may use that fact as evidence in a personal injury claim filed in an effort to receive compensation for your injuries.
Receiving an award of damages could help cover the costs associated with your medical care — both now and in the future, if needed — and reimburse you for the income you lost during your recovery.