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New Technologies May Increase Distracted Driving Risks
While lawmakers have sought to address the problem of texting while driving by enacting laws banning the practice, automakers are attempting to invent new systems that allow drivers to stay connected without taking their attention from the road.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving poses serious risks on our nation’s highways. In 2010 alone – the last year for which statistics are available – 3,092 people were killed and an additional 419,000 injured in car accidents involving distracted drivers. Unfortunately, the problem is only likely to get worse as cell phone ownership increases and texting gains traction as an accepted means of communication.

New Technologies Pose New Dangers

Any activity – including talking to vehicle passengers, eating, talking on a cell phone, or using a navigation device or MP3 player – that takes a driver’s attention away from the primary task of driving can be dangerous. Texting while driving poses a particular risk, however, because it requires a driver’s manual, visual and cognitive attention. Safety advocates worry that new technologies make similar demands on drivers’ attention and pose the same serious risk on the road as texting.

Specifically, new studies indicate that more drivers – particularly those between the ages of 18 and 29 – have begun to use their smart phones to browse the Web while driving. According to a study by State Farm Insurance, 48 percent of young drivers surveyed in 2012 reported “webbing” while driving, up from just 29 percent surveyed in 2009. The study also found similar increases in checking email and accessing social networks. The problem is not isolated to young drivers, however: for all age groups, accessing the Web while driving increased to 21 percent from 13 percent from 2009 to 2012.

While lawmakers have sought to address the problem of texting while driving by enacting laws banning the practice, automakers are attempting to invent new systems that allow drivers to stay connected without taking their attention from the road. Critics of these systems argue that automakers are actually encouraging further distraction by legitimizing drivers’ needs to be online at all times. Only time will tell whether these new systems lead to safer roads or simply continue to contribute to the problem.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a car accident caused by the negligence of a distracted driver, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can assess your case and help you get the compensation you deserve for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. For more information about what a personal injury attorney can do for you, contact a lawyer today.

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