Is Car Technology Leading to More Distracted Driving?
There is no question that technology makes our lives easier. Whether you use technology for work-related purposes or your hobbies, there is not one aspect of our life where we do not rely on technology to become more productive. Technology is supposed to make our tasks more manageable, but is that always the case?
When it comes to driving, for example, is the task made easier when there are different types of technological features added to the vehicle? Does the addition of these technological features lead to an increase in distracted driving? Continue reading to lean more about distracted driving, car technology, and liability law from our Chicago car accident lawyers.
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New technological advances
There once was a time when drivers considered the addition of rear-view cameras inside a car as cutting edge. Now, several technological advances get installed into all types of vehicles. There is nearly a technological feature for every type of driving situation. Some of the standard technological features inside the new vehicles include:
Blind spot detection
Blind spot detection is a feature that helps a vehicle detect the presence of another vehicle in the driver’s blind spot. This alert often appears on the driver’s side mirrors. This feature is beneficial for all drivers and can potentially reduce the possibility of blind spot accidents.
Lane departure signals
Another technological feature is the lane departure signal feature. The advancement helps to warn drivers when they steer or drift into another lane. This signal obviously helps to warn drowsy or distracted drivers when they are potentially drifting into another lane and hitting another driver.
Forward collision warning features
This technological feature prevents drivers from colliding with the car ahead of them. Some vehicles have forward collision warning features that can sense a few cars ahead if there is a potential collision. If the car in front of you stops abruptly for whatever reason, this feature can ignite an automatic emergency brake to stop your car. Other aspects of this feature include display lights, sounds, or a change in the brake pedal.
Some vehicles come equipped with 360-degree cameras inside. Like rear-view cameras, 360-degree cameras get placed on every side of the vehicle. This feature provides a complete view of your vehicle from the top down and helps prevent a driver from hitting anything while parking. The view from 360-degree cameras allows you to see difficult locations for drivers, such as the parking lanes and the sides of the garage.
Incorporating these features into every new vehicle can significantly reduce the risk of car accidents. Ironically, these new features can increase car accidents as well. Drivers who heavily rely on these types of technological advancements are at risk of engaging in distracted driving. Distracted driving is a phenomenon that results in the loss of many lives.
Causes of distracted driving
Some of the common causes of distracted driving include:
Using a cell phone. Drivers fail to notice the presence of other drivers or safely react to the changes in traffic when they check their cell phones. Cell phone usage texting and driving is one of the most common distractions on the road.
Interacting with other passengers. Aside from using a cell phone, talking with passengers is another common distraction that takes drivers’ attention away from the roads. While some passengers can help a driver stay awake while driving, passengers can also divide a driver’s focus away from the roads.
Adjusting the features in a car. Whether it is adjusting the GPS in the car or manipulating the Apple Car play features on the cell phone, adjusting the car’s features can be a distraction. Even adjusting a car feature for a second can distract a driver and cause a severe accident.
Eating or drinking. Another common distraction is eating snacks or drinking beverages while driving. It is common for drivers to sneak a snack during “slow times” on the road. Instead of trying to eat a snack or consume a drink and risk hitting someone, it will be better to pull over to the side of the road or park somewhere safe where you can enjoy your food or drinks in peace.
Rubbernecking. Another common distraction is rubbernecking or pausing to view something distracting. For many drivers, rubbernecking is common when a car accident happens during traffic, and drivers want to see the graphic scene. Rubbernecking is an activity that not only increases the flow of traffic but increases the possibility that another traffic accident can happen.
Types of distractions While Driving
Three distractions can draw drivers’ attention from the road:
Cognitive distractions. Cognitive distractions are the mental distractions that take the driver’s attention off the road. These distractions can mean innocent distractions like daydreaming or thinking about everyday errands to get done.
Manual distractions. Manual distractions are physical distractions that take a driver’s hands away from the wheel. Some manual distractions include eating, applying makeup, smoking, and checking social media on your cell phone.
Visual distractions. Visual distractions are the distractions that take a driver’s eyes off of the road. Some examples of visual distractions include checking to see what the children are doing in the car’s back seat, viewing a text message on your cell phone, and responding to a cell phone notification or a particular car feature.
How new technology features lead to distracted driving
With new technological features like lane detection and crash avoidance technology, it will seem as if car accidents will decrease. Unfortunately, these features can also aid in the rise of car accidents. Drivers can become too dependent on these features and allow their focus to wander while driving.
Even worse, some of these features can become additional visual distractions and take the driver’s eyes off the roads. Like a cell phone, these new features can come with notifications that can easily distract the driver.
While many drivers assume that hands-free vehicle systems are safer, they still cause distractions. Hands-free calling, texting, GPS, and other tech features of your vehicle might seem safer than using handheld devices, but they are still not completely safe and cause serious distractions. Drivers should avoid using these as much as possible.
When you have been in a car accident that a distracted driver caused, you can hold that driver responsible for your injuries. Becoming distracted behind the wheel is another kind of negligence a driver can commit and be liable for resulting crashes. When that driver’s negligence causes you or other drivers serious harm, you now have the right to file an insurance claim or lawsuit against that driver. However, other parties can also be responsible for your injuries.
Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you can also hold the car manufacturer liable for your injuries. While the driver is the main party responsible for your accident, the car manufacturer can have also displayed negligent behavior that contributed to your accident. For example, the feature installed into the vehicle may have been defective and failed to work as expected, leading to your accident. The features may have been too distracting to the point where the driver cannot focus on the road and crashes into you.
Tesla autopilot recall
One of the most recent examples of a company causing defective safety features in vehicles is the Tesla autopilot recall. The recall has become such a problem that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has stepped in and enforced a mandatory probe into the car manufacturer’s system. Tesla incorporated an autopilot system to assist drivers with regular driving features like lane changing, parking, and braking.
Unfortunately, drivers have reported a braking issue where the car unexpectedly stops while the car is moving. These issues have caused 16 car accidents that have involved emergency vehicles, 15 injuries, and one death so far. The recent recall has affected 830,000 Tesla vehicles.
Preventing distractions while driving
While safety features are nice to have in your vehicle, you want to ensure that you do not become too dependent on these safety features while driving. Even more important, you do not want to allow these features to distract you while driving. If it comes down between you and the car manufacturer, you are more likely to be liable for a car accident.
To prevent distractions while driving, preparation is critical. You want to make sure that your phone is in a location that is not easily accessible and that your notifications are off. You also want to ensure that any distracting features associated with the safety technology in your car get turned off.
How a car accident lawyer can help
Before filing a lawsuit, there are several factors to consider. In addition to determining whether it is worth filing a lawsuit, you must also consider the parties you want to sue and the damages you want to receive.
You must also consider how you will hold these parties liable and present the best case as to why you should get compensation. While all of these factors can be overwhelming to figure out on your own, you can consult with a car accident lawyer to help you with your lawsuit. There are many ways that a car accident lawyer can help with your lawsuit.
Whether your lawsuit is worth pursuing
During your consultation, your lawyer will determine through the facts of your accident whether your lawsuit is worth pursuing or not. There are certain factors that lawyers can use to determine the worth of your lawsuit. Some of those factors include the extent of your injuries, whether you have a possibility of recovering from your injuries, and how possible it is to prove the parties you’re suing liable for your injuries. Your lawyer will weigh these factors and consider whether you will be successful in proving the other parties’ liability.
Holding the right parties accountable
A lawyer can also help you determine which parties you should hold liable in your lawsuit. If there is a more substantial chance of holding the driver liable for your injuries, your lawyer can help list the driver as the liable party. Suppose there is strong evidence that you can use to prove that the car manufacturer’s negligent actions caused your accident. In that case, your lawyer can also file a lawsuit against the car manufacturer.
Evaluating the damages in your lawsuit
Another benefit your lawyer brings to the table is evaluating the damages in your lawsuit. You can request multiple damages in your lawsuit if you demonstrate causation by the accident. Typical damages include medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and property damage. Your lawyer can assess the cost of each damage you will like to be compensated for, including non-economic damages like pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
Ways to resolve your lawsuit
Your lawyer can also decide the best course of action to help you receive the maximum compensation from your lawsuit. With lawsuits, you can resolve them through two methods. You can resolve your lawsuit through a settlement or a trial.
Regardless of how you want your lawsuit resolved, your lawyer should have the skills to present the most robust case for you. You want a skilled lawyer to deny settlements that will not benefit you in the long run. You also want a confident lawyer to take your lawsuit to trial if the opposing counsel does not want to mediate and reach a mutual decision.
Presenting the best case for you
Your lawyer can also gather the best evidence for you and prove the liability of the other parties. The more evidence you have that can prove how negligent the other party acted towards you, the greater your chances are of being rewarded your compensation.
Your lawyer can design the most robust case for you to remove any doubt that the other parties are legally responsible for your accident. Your lawyer also has the skills to dispute any counterarguments the opposing party will make toward you.
Speak to a car accident lawyer today
If you have been the victim of an accident caused by a distracted driver, consult with a lawyer. Distracted driving is a negligent act that drivers can prevent, and when they cause accidents, they should be liable. Contact a car accident lawyer today about your case.
David Abels has carved a niche for himself in the personal injury law sector, dedicating a substantial part of his career since 1997 to representing victims of various accidents. With a law practice that spans over two decades, his expertise has been consistently recognized within the legal community.