Distracted Driving Victims Need Legal Help

Distracted driving is at an all time high, and the problem is only getting worse. Technology, including GPS devices, texting, talking on cell phones, adjusting music with smartphones, and distracting “infotainment” screens all lead to drivers spending less time focusing on the road, which inevitably leads to more crashes. If you were hit by a distracted driver, you need to contact an attorney to discuss your options for filing a personal injury claim against the negligent party. Do not assume that their insurance company will reach out to you with a fair settlement offer, because they most certainly will not. Even proving negligence can be difficult in distracted driving collisions, as proving that the at-fault party was engaged in a distracting behavior is difficult.

Advanced Car Safety Technology May Lead to Drivers Allowing Themselves to Become Even More Distracted

Adapted cruise control, automotive emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind spot detection, safety exit assist, and rear view cameras are just a few advanced safety features that Forbes claims that “you cannot do without.” The question of whether these features are even necessary should not be overshadowed by the more important question of the following: “are these features causing more distraction?” Rear view cameras lull drivers into thinking that they do not need to look behind them when they back up, even though a rear view camera does not show what is approaching from the sides. Lane departure warning systems convince drivers that it is okay to look down at their phone for “just a quick second” to respond to a text message, because the car will alarm them if they begin to drift out of their lane. Safety exit assist convinces parked drivers that they do not need to check for a bike as they open their door into the bike lane because the safety exit feature should do that for them. Never mind that these safety features are prone to errors, as are all technology; a larger issue is that these types of safety systems may end up causing drivers to ignore their personal responsibility, and “just let the car take over” for them. Eventually, it is likely that all cars are completely automated (self driving). Until then, we are in a strange gray area where crash warning systems and other safety features like semi-autonomous steering are doing more harm than good.

The Problem With Infotainment Screens

When you climb into the seat of a car from the early 2000s, the biggest difference that you will notice between it and a new model is the size of the screen on the dashboard. In fact, it was not so long ago that cars simply did not have screens at all. Nowadays, the scenes are approaching the size of a desktop computer. Tesla’s Model S touchscreen is so big (17 inches) that they are larger than most laptops. Often, there are multiple screens in new vehicles—a center console screen in addition to the driver’s speed/navigation screen behind the steering wheel. Dubbed infotainment screens because they are as much for entertainment as they are for information, these screens are legal to use while driving, giving drivers an excuse to distract themselves with the monotony of driving and paying attention to traffic.

The Problem With GPS

More and more cars come with their own GPS, and vehicles that do not have GPS screens are often adorned with cell phone holders for this purpose. GPS may seem harmless, but the screen causes just as much distraction as texting. Even audio-only GPS directions cause distraction. The issue with GPS is that instead of pulling off the side of the road to look at directions, drivers are inundated with distracting visual and audio direction for the entirety of the time they are behind the wheel. And, if they are inputting addresses or setting up their GPS while driving, they are engaging in all three types of driver distraction—hands off the wheel, visual distraction, and cognitive distraction.

Contact A St. Pete Personal Injury Lawyer at Waggener Law

If you were involved in a car wreck, chances are that the other driver was distracted. While subpoenaing cell phone records may be an option, it is probably an unnecessary step in proving their negligence. Here at Waggener Law, Pllc our St. Pete auto accident attorney can help prove the cause of the crash so that you are fairly compensated for your damages. Call us today at 727-685-8000 to schedule a free consultation.