Many new vehicles come with all of the bells and whistles one would expect. Auto manufacturers consistently tout new technology in their cars, specifically in-car “infotainment” systems. This technology includes music, navigation, and Internet, such as on or near the car’s dashboard. The name says it all – this technology can be informative (navigation, speed, etc.) while also facilitating the vehicle’s entertainment systems.
What can easily be overlooked is how an infotainment system affects safety. A troubling report was recently released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety which stated this technology can actually cause more accidents. This may come as a surprise to most people, since new technology is designed to actually reduce the rate of crashes. According to Dr. David Yang of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, certain “in-vehicle technology can create unsafe conditions for drivers on the road by increasing the time they spend with their eyes off the road and hands off the wheel.”
Specifically, infotainment systems that are not properly designed can increase distracted driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines distracted driving as “any action that diverts attention from driving,” which includes the following:
- Talking or texting on a cell phone
- Eating or drinking
- Talking to other people in the car
- Playing with the car’s stereo, entertainment, or navigation system
In reaching its conclusion, AAA conducted a study involving 120 drivers ranging from 21-36 years old. The subjects analyzed 30 different vehicles, all 2017 models. Researchers observed the subjects, specifically noting how long they took their eyes off of the road to use the vehicle’s infotainment system. Researchers also looked for trends involving how much mental energy was expended during a particular task, such as changing the radio station or programming a GPS. For example, entering a destination into a navigation or GPS system can take a driver’s eyes off the road for 40 seconds, the same amount of time it takes to drive four football fields at 25 miles per hour.
If you were injured in a car accident, proving another driver was distracted and caused the collision could allow you to recover compensation for your medical bills, time off work, and other damages. This can be easier said than done. For example, even if the other driver was texting, talking on the phone, or fiddling with the GPS when the wreck occurred, he or she may deny taking such action. If the liability carrier denies fault, a lawsuit may need to be filed. In the context of infotainment systems, discovery may need to be conducted to gather important evidence. For instance, it may be necessary to subpoena records from a phone provider or software company to establish negligence and prove an electronic device was in use at the time of the wreck.
To discuss your case with an auto accident lawyer, call Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz at 800-529-4004 or visit us online. We offer a free consultation and are available 24/7. We handle personal injury cases throughout Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, and Kentucky.