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Tech Distractions Play Increasing Role in Vehicular Accidents

Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook

According to the National Safety Council, motorists in California and other states may be at heightened risk from distracting technology. Most states have enacted laws that ban texting while driving, but many of these laws do not address hand's-free technology. However, many companies and at least one city prohibit any use of cellphones for its employees while they are driving.

The NSC says that employer policies may induce positive changes. Workplace rules that forbid staff from using hands-free devices or handheld technology while driving have the potential to improve road safety. Cellphones rank high among the list of possible driving distractions due to the fact that people are so apt to use them without giving adequate thought to the dangers.

One potentially confusing factor for motorists is the fact that more high-tech devices included in newer vehicles are marketed as being safe. Drivers can be lulled into a false sense of security if they trust automaker assertions that hands-free devices don't put them in danger. In reality, drivers can become distracted merely by the act of maintaining a conversation, yet 53 percent of motorists polled by NSC believe that infotainment dashboards and other features are low risk.

Distracted motorists can contribute to accidents in numerous ways. A driver who becomes engaged in a heated conversation may not remember to check a blind spot or stay aware of surrounding traffic. People who are having trouble with their hands-free vehicle hardware might get into an accident after diverting their gaze to adjust settings and failing to notice debris on the road. Injured victims in such collisions may pursue legal action, but to prevail, they and their attorneys must establish how driver distraction played a role.