As technology has progressed over the years, infotainment has become more and more prevalent in our everyday lives. Everything you could ever want is now only a fingertip away. Vehicles are now equipped with voice-activated dialing, back-up cameras, and maps for every corner of the globe. Not long ago, all you cared about when you turned the ignition was that the engine would start, the heat would come on, and the tape deck wouldn't chew the tape.
Today, infotainment technology is convenient, fun, but slightly dangerous. Researchers at the University of Utah, commissioned by the AAA foundation to study traffic safety, examined the time it took drivers to complete. The study found that drivers using voice-based and touch screen features were distracted for more than 40 seconds.
According to previous research, removing your eyes from the road for just two seconds doubles the risk of a crash. “The surprise here is that these are technologies built and marketed as making us safe and less distracted behind the wheel,’’ noted Jake Nelson, director of traffic and safety research at AAA.
Each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), crashes involving distracted driving kill nine people and injure more than a thousand. At the speed of 25 miles per hour, a driver can travel the length of four football fields during the time it would take to enter a destination in navigation. “We welcome the innovation and technology into the vehicle,’’ Nelson said. “We need to pause and we need to be a bit more thoughtful about the way we introduce these systems to motorists.’’
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has suggested that car companies make some of the new infotainment technology only functional when a car is in park. Other research has found that almost one in 20 drivers said they’ve had an accident due to being distracted by driver aids, or in-car media features. One in ten young drivers between the ages of 18 to 24 also admit to being involved in distracted driving incidents.
Driving distracted endangers not only those behind the wheel, but passengers, fellow drivers and bystanders. Along with iPods and smart phones, there are other distractions while driving, including:
- Eating and Drinking: In a survey, 51 percent of drivers admitted their driving had been compromised at least once because of eating or drinking behind the wheel.
- Music: More than 60 percent of motorists have admitted that driving fast to their favorite music has distracted them, especially when flipping through songs or switching stations.
- Making or taking a phone call: More than 20 percent of drivers admitted that they continue to take phone calls while driving. Phones can direct a driver's attention away from the road in front of them.
- Updating social media: This has become more common and dangerous. Few things are more incriminating in a car accident case than a tweet like “stuck behind a slow driver."
If you have been a victim of a careless driving accident, you need to speak to an experienced Texas auto accident attorney. We can help you!