It has been a deadly year on the roads so far in 2016. Data compiled for just the first six months of the year show 17,700 fatalities as a result of motor vehicle accidents. That is an increase of 10.4 percent from the same period last year. Compounding these numbers is that so many could have been avoided, if not for distracting driving.
Over the years, deadly car accidents have been long associated with speeding or drunk driving. With the increase in technology, however, drivers are becoming more and more distracted behind the wheel. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 10 percent of teenage drivers involved in a deadly crash were distracted. Drivers in their 20’s makeup almost a quarter of people involved in fatal accidents and account for nearly 30 percent of distracted drivers overall. In Canada, distracted driving is now responsible for more fatalities in cars than impaired driving.
Distraction comes in many forms for motorists. While cell phone use and texting continue to often take a driver’s eyes off the road, it is not the only activity they engage in. Vehicles themselves are equipped with so many new types of technological displays and features that it is easy to become distracted. People also continue to eat and drink while driving, along with reading, writing and applying makeup. In some cities such as New York, there are also more pedestrians and bicyclists to watch out for. All of these actions contribute to the fact that an estimated 94 percent of crashes are due to driver error.
There has been talked in the industry about whether smartphone manufacturers could install technology that would prohibit cell phone use while driving, specifically texting. Texting while driving is illegal in 46 states and Washington, D.C., but neither the law nor the constant reminders of the dangers of this behavior seem to be having any substantial impact. New York State is already looking into the concept of a “texalyzer,” which would indicate to police if a driver was texting before a crash.
Cell phone manufacturers and providers agree there is a problem, and there have been discussions about automatic features that would block a driver from activities such as texting, taking photos and posting on social media, or even playing games like Pokémon Go. The concept is still being worked on, as the technology would have to be specific to the driver, and not stop passengers either in a car or on a bus from being able to use their phones. Safety officials are encouraged that the manufactures will figure out a way to address the problem. The president of The National Safety Council even said, “Technology got us into this situation. Technology will get us out.”
Before anyone can rely on technology to put an end to distracted driving, motorists need to take responsibility for their actions. Driving is not a game or a way to pass the time. A driver’s focus needs to be on the road ahead and nothing else. If you or someone you love has been injured as the result of an accident involving a distracted driver, please call the skilled and experienced attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C., to fight for the compensation you deserve.