Digital Diversion Caused the Biggest Spike in Highway Fatalities in Half a Century

Automakers and government regulations have been making cars smarter and safer than ever for more than four decades. Emerging technologies and stricter approval requirements first added crumple zones and airbags and later introduced seatbelt warning sensors; now, cars that drive and stop themselves are poised to become a reality in the next few years. With all those safety improvements, highway fatalities have been in steady decline for more than forty years, but not anymore.

The tide is turning

The New York Times reported recently that “highway fatalities last year recorded the largest annual percentage increase in 50 years. And the numbers so far this year are even worse. In the first six months of 2016, highway deaths jumped 10.4 percent, to 17,775, from the comparable period of 2015.”

The culprit? More distraction than ever. Smartphones that contain an ever-expanding library of available apps are being linked into vehicle systems like Ford Motor’s Sync, Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto. These systems purport to make driving safer by making smartphone interaction hands-free, but these selfsame systems may be increasing our level of distraction instead of decreasing it.

More new tech may hurt instead of help

When was the last time you used a voice command on a phone or tablet that you didn’t have to repeat or clarify? Bluetooth connections can take forever, and interacting with your car’s voice command system takes your eyes off the road far more often than it works flawlessly. Lawmakers are additionally concerned that emerging technologies like Tesla’s Autopilot may create a false sense of security in already distracted drivers.

At the moment, distracted driving is a secondary offense for adults, which means that law enforcement must cite an initial cause for a traffic stop. What this means for your family is that the law cannot protect you from distracted drivers. However, there are options when a distracted driver injures you or your loved one. The experienced Kentucky and Ohio auto accident attorneys at Crandall & Pera Law can evaluate your case and help get you the compensation you deserve. Call 877.686.8879 for Ohio, 877.651.7764 for Kentucky, or contact us today for a free consultation.