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How Data and Tech Can Prevent Distracted Driving

Distracted driving continues to be a problem in every state, including Arizona. It has serious consequences. Drivers who don’t pay attention to the road run red lights and stop signs and swerve out of their lanes. This often results in serious accidents involving injuries and vehicle damage. The losses amount to large sums of money for victims, insurance companies and states.

Causes of Distracted Driving Which a Mesa Car Accident Lawyer Will Encounter

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that distracted driving claimed 3,450 lives in 2016. It is estimated that a quarter of all accidents involve cell phone use. Instead of focusing on driving, motorists talk on the phone or text.

Some of the other potentially deadly distractions include:

  • Fiddling with GPS devices.

    • Many drivers have become reliant on GPS to get around. Changing your route while driving or even just looking down at directions is a significant distraction. The GPS device should be mounted in a spot where it can be seen easily. In addition, the audio features should also be used so you can hear the directions.
  • Adjusting the radio or other controls.

    • Choosing a different playlist or changing the temperature in the car may seem like no big deal. However, taking your attention away from the road for even a second can be dangerous. Wherever possible, get all your settings the way you want them before you drive off.
  • Grooming or applying makeup.

    • Many people don’t seem to have to time to comb their hair or apply lipstick before they leave home. Naturally, taking their hands off the wheel and their eyes off the road makes driving more dangerous.
  • Talking to other passengers.

    • This is a natural thing to do. However, you should try not to get into arguments or turn to look at your passengers.
  • Zoning out.

    • If you’ve been driving for a long time or along a monotonous stretch, your concentration may waver. You may also go into autopilot mode if you are traveling along the same route repeatedly. Try to take regular breaks so your mind is refreshed when you get behind the wheel.

How Technology Can Help Prevent Distracted Driving

Even though technology is responsible for many of the distractions drivers face, tech and data can actually make driving safer. Data can be used to predict driver fatigue or distraction. It can also identify when vehicles are at risk for a collision. This type of technology is especially useful in fleet management. One such solution has been implemented by Omnitracs. It uses the hours of service data of commercial drivers to predict when they are at risk for serious accidents. Meanwhile, data analytics firm Zendrive uses smartphone data to identify at-risk drivers to insurers and fleet owners. Other companies have developed in-cab video monitoring and even audible notifications for distracted drivers.

There are also some high-tech car safety features which can help drivers to remain alert. These include:

  • Forward-Collision Warning.

    • This gives the driver an audible, visual or tactile warning if they are about to collide with a car. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that FCW is linked to a 27 percent drop in rear-end accidents when installed.
  • Automatic Emergency Braking.

    • This system engages the breaks if it senses a possible collision and the driver doesn’t react in time. The IIHS found that when vehicles use both AEB and FCW, there is a 50 percent reduction in rear-end collisions.
  • Lane-Departure Warning.

    • When a vehicle crosses a lane marking when the turn signal isn’t engaged, the system warns drivers. IIHS says nearly 85,000 crashes would have been prevented in 2015 if all passenger vehicles had LDW.
  • Lane-Keeping Assist.

    • If a vehicle begins to drift out of its lane, LKA assists with steering and/or braking. There is no IIHS data on this yet.

Some simple smartphone features can also be used to minimize distractions. The Do Not Disturb While Driving mode on Apple iOS 11 blocks notifications when the car is in motion. AT&T DriveMode blocks text alert when the car reaches 15 miles per hour. It can also send automatic text replies. The app can be programmed to notify parents when it has been turned off. Samsung offers In-Traffic Reply which allows drivers to set up automatic replies.

Let an Arizona Auto Accident Lawyer Help with Your Distracted Driving Case

Unless drivers begin to exercise more caution and use technology to practice safe driving, accidents will continue. If you were the victim of a distracted driver, contact the Mesa car accident attorneys at Warnock MacKinlay Law to discuss your case. Regardless of what distracted the other driver, you deserve compensation. Contact us today for a consultation.

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