If texting while driving wasn't dangerous enough, auto manufacturers and technology companies are joining forces to make sure that electronic devices have a prominent place in new cars. Public officials and personal injury lawyers in California are anticipating an increase in technology-related accidents. Over the past 10 years, the number of accidents related to cell phones has skyrocketed, and more increases are expected as companies work to bring consumers value-added products that are extremely dangerous.
To date, 10 states have banned the use of cell phones while driving. Even hands-free phones are hazardous, as the dangers of distracted driving are not only in having your hands off the wheel, but also in not devoting your attention to the road. Studies show that driving while talking to a remote party is a significant distraction that slows reaction times and impairs situational awareness. To curb these accidents, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is proposing a national ban on cell phones while driving.
The stats on driving while gabbing
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 3,000 people died because of distraction-related auto accidents in 2010. Last December, Deborah Hersman, the chairwomen of the NTSB, called for a total ban on portable electronic devices and urged leaders to stand up for safety. On the other side of the fence, technology companies and auto manufacturers are trying to boost their profits by integrating these devices.
Recently, Apple announced that they would be abandoning Google Maps and switching to their own geographic imaging system. They also released information about their plans to place devices in vehicles manufactured by Audi, BMW, GM, Honda, Mercedes and Toyota. As these devices evolve, drivers will be able to access a variety of multimedia devices that are synched wirelessly. Sending texts, composing emails and responding to directions using voice-activated technology will be the new standard. Manufacturers claim this is safer. Unfortunately, these companies are putting profits over safety, which will inevitably lead to more personal injury lawsuits in California and nationally.
Between insurance companies, vehicle manufacturers and safety advocates, the public can expect this debate to continue for some time.