In 2017, there were 37,150 fatalities on the nation’s roads, according to U.S. DoT data. This is a 10 percent increase from 2014, and many experts believe that distracted driving has a large part to play in it. Drivers in New Jersey who are concerned about this trend, which is being aggravated by advances in technology, can consider the results of several recent studies made on the subject.
An AAA study showed that built-in infotainment systems demand a high level of attention from drivers, even more so than interfaces like Android Auto or Apple CarPlay that run off smartphones. Researchers conducted an experiment with 64 participants driving five different vehicles; the participants were asked to make calls, text, adjust audio, enter navigation destinations and use the other features on the infotainment systems and smartphone interfaces.
While the former were more distracting, the latter was not exactly perfect. CarPlay demanded less attention for texting, while Android Auto was safer when drivers were entering destinations.
Agero, a company that provides roadside assistance systems, conducted a study on the effect of automation on driver attention. It found that drivers aged 17 to 22 can be particularly distracted, using their phones for 12 percent of the time they’re behind the wheel. At MIT, researchers are also studying how Tesla’s Autopilot, and other technologies, affect behavior.
Distracted driving is a form of negligence, so those who cause a car accident because they were fiddling with their phone or infotainment system will be found liable. Victims might be able to file a claim against the guilty party’s auto insurance company, and if they’re successful, they may be compensated for medical bills, vehicle repair costs, lost wages and more. A lawyer might assist by hiring experts to gather proof of negligence, estimating a fair amount for a settlement and negotiating for it.