There is no question that distracted driving has become a national epidemic. From texting to dialing to status checking, statistics show drivers distracted by handheld mobile communications devices are more likely to be involved in car accidents.
More than 15 people die and more than 1,200 people are injured every day in distracted driving accidents. Nearly 3000 people have been killed in the last year in crashes caused by distracted driving. That is as many lives as were lost in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
If you have been injured in such a crash, or a loved one has been killed, contact a Chicago car accident lawyer to discuss your right to seek legal compensation.
To curb the public health risk known as distracted driving and protect drivers, passengers and pedestrians, Illinois and many other states have passed laws banning the use of handheld cellular phones while driving. In addition, the federal government has launched initiatives to reduce distracted driving such as Distraction.gov to encourage drivers of all ages to focus on driving responsibly.
Battling Technology With Technology
Increasingly, there are also attempts to fight distracted driving through high-tech solutions. Carmakers are including more hands-free technology options allowing drivers to do a range of activities verbally -from adjusting the cabin temperature to making a telephone call – without removing their hands from the steering wheel and their eyes from the road. Additionally, some mobile phone manufacturers are including “car mode” as a feature on the devices to block users from accessing texts received or sending text messages while the automobile is in motion.
Applications developers are also entering the market with app software to prevent drivers from using cell phones while operating vehicles. Corporate fleet managers are increasingly being attracted to these programs with the new federal regulation prohibiting commercial truck and bus drivers from reaching for or dialing phones while driving. Parents are also taking notice and trying out apps and subscription-based services to monitor and control phone functions for teenage drivers.
Moving Forward With Caution
Parents, advocacy groups and commercial carrier companies hope the advances in technology will break distracted driving bad habits. However, Russ Rader, spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety urges caution. “It’s not clear that these systems are going to be widely accepted by consumers. The effect of these systems on distracted driving as a whole is likely going to be limited.”
In other words, fighting technological distraction with more technology has its limits.