ON BOARD DISTRACTIONS
When Our 24/7 Obsessions Cause Crashes
Keep Your Eyes On The Road & Hands On The Wheel
All the cool new cars have them. Infotainment systems. In-car technology. Multimedia systems by another name. They usually come standard on new vehicles. Did you know that many systems let drivers scan hundreds of satellite radio stations, pair their smartphone and send text messages, enter and follow GPS coordinates, check their Twitter & Facebook and surf the web all while cruising down the highway? Gone are the days of simply turning the dial to blast air con or jack up the tunes. Even a simple task like changing the radio station or switching from radio to air con could mean navigating through 3 plus touch screens. No wonder consumers are left confused and frustrated. Worse, those very drivers, and those they share the road with, are vulnerable to catastrophically severe car crashes.
Last Fall, the AAA (CAA's sister organization) issued a very public warning. Their AAA studies show that these vehicle infotainment systems take our eyes, hands, minds and attention off the wheel and off the road for prolonged dangerous periods of time. Even basic tasks like programming navigation and changing up satellite radio can distract us for more than 40 seconds at a time. When twinned with AAA's revelation that removing eyes from the road for just 2 seconds doubles the risk for a crash, the threat of on board distractions is clear. As AAA urges car manufacturers to lock these systems while in motion, responsible drivers can be proactive and just say no to onboard distracted driving.
- GPS & Navigation: program your route before you leave the driveway;
- Favourite Tunes? Just set it and forget it;
- Declare Your Ride a Google Free Zone; and
- Go Old School: pull over in safety to make & take that call or text.
Social media has focused the spotlight on hand held smartphones and texting and driving. It's one of the most deadly threats on our roads. But distracted driving is still distracted driving even when slicked up in a shiny new package. The buck stops with the driver. All drivers regardless of income and regardless of ride.
We have the power and obligation to use this new technology responsibly and in safety. If not, the number and severity of car crashes will climb. We know that we can't really have everything all the time 24/7. Multi-tasking is madness behind the wheel. Just because it comes standard in your car doesn't mean it is safe. And it doesn't mean drivers can put their brains in park and ignore the danger.
You can be sure that injury lawyers are watching these developments closely. So should consumers and drivers. When an at fault driver is convicted of distracted driving, one big pillar of our case has been made against their insurance company. Injury lawyers must prove, on the lesser civil standard, liability and damages to make our case. Liability means who is to blame. Damages mean the impact on the victim's life and include pain and suffering and income loss. That distracted driving conviction is a big practical help proving that first pillar or leg of liability.
If you have been injured by a distracted driver, and you suspect the at fault driver was distracted by their infotainment system, call an experienced personal injury lawyer. Just because that driver was behind the wheel of an expensive car with a high tech touch screen display or voice command system, does not make it OK. It certainly doesn't make it safe. Distraction is distraction whether you are putting along in your beater with your phone on your lap or purring along in your Mercedes posting tweets about your fab weekend. Distracted driving is an equal opportunity offender. Your brain is not where it's supposed to be.
Call an experienced injury lawyer. Find out where you stand.
Fancy Pants Distracted Driving Is Still Distracted Driving
Everything All The Time