David Strickland, Administrator for National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently spoke to a group of people at the Telematics Detroit 2011 conference about in-vehicle technology and the dramatic effect it has in causing distracted driving accidents in Fort Lauderdale and elsewhere in the country. Facebook and Twitter are common methods of communication these days but they both require web access. Is life so short that we can’t wait until we are parked to correspond with friends, family, co-workers or bosses via the internet?
Our Palm Beach car accident lawyers understand the dangers that social media plays on drivers because we help victims everyday get compensated after being hit by a distracted driver.
With almost 5,500 distracted driving-related deaths each year, the Government Computer News reports that Strickland was pretty adamant that he wasn’t going to ease up on his opposition to devices placed in cars that can add to a drivers’ distraction. “I’m just putting everyone on notice,” Strickland said, choosing his words carefully and ironically, “A car is not a mobile device.”
The government has sought to communicate its concerns about distracted driving the last few years with national campaigns, public service announcements, teen contests and the induction of Distraction.gov, a website designed to inform the public about the dangers of distracted driving. The focus has been on hands-free devices, of which car manufacturers are happy to oblige with voice-activated technology but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has presented studies that hands off the wheel is not the only distraction that puts drivers in danger.
Distractions are caused both physically and cognitively so talking or listening to a voice-activated device in your car distracts a driver just as much as removing their hands from the wheel to punch a button or taking your eyes off the road to look at a screen.
The Denver Post reports that the automobile industry is only giving consumers what they want in terms of bigger and better technology installed in vehicles.
“Consumers are wanting, expecting and you could say demanding more technology in their cars,” said Tim Jackson, president and CEO of Colorado Automobile Dealers Association. “As their lives have become more technologically driven, they want those same creature comforts in their cars.”
Hands-free social media technology is what consumers are getting. The following are some examples of in-vehicle technology being offered by different car manufacturers:
-2012 Chevy Volt and Equinox will offer Chevy MyLink which is a hands-free Internet radio site which links Pandora and Stitcher Smart Radio.
-Limited models of Toyota’s Entune offer a multimedia system in which a driver’s cell phone can be linked to their vehicle.
-Ford’s Sync technology offers a system that allows drivers to hear a text message and respond back to them, get vehicle diagnostic updates, recall information, and reminders for scheduled maintenance, among other things.
-Kia and Microsoft have teamed up to create Uvo, a new hands-free entertainment system which has Bluetooth technology available. This option is now standard in 2011 Optima Hybrid and 2012 Sorento models and will soon be offered in other Kia vehicles.
New and improved, in most cases, is a good thing. When it comes to in-vehicle technology, consumers should choose and use their toys wisely in order to reduce the risk of a distracted driving accident. Distractions are a common cause of vehicle crashes and no amount of bells and whistles can guarantee highway safety.
If you have been injured in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Margate or the surrounding areas, contact the car accident attorneys at Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez, LLC for a free appointment to discuss your case. Call 1-800-561-7777 today.
Highway safety chief: Car not a ‘mobile device’, by Kevin McCaney, Government Computer News
Today’s drivers expect more from their cars, triggering influx of tech-infused vehicles, by Christian Toto, The Denver Post
Cell Phone Distractions Lead to High Risk of Boar, Car and Train Accidents in Miami, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, July 5, 2011
Cell Phones a Common Cause of Car Accidents at School Drop-Off Areas in Palm Beach, Elsewhere, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, June 1, 2011