New government report offers tech tips to reduce distracted driving

Lest there be any doubt, the increase in deadly car accidents tied to phone use in 2015 is proof positive that distracted driving and safe driving are mutually exclusive. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration acknowledged that motorists’ increased usage of mobile devices behind the wheel was partially responsible for the growth in highway crashes, some of which wound up in court to determine culpability.

In an effort to reduce their frequency, the government recently released guidelines that manufacturers are encouraged – but not required – to implement.

“The government urges designers to install lockout functions on smartphones.”

The 96-page document – released in December – outlines the extent of the driver distraction epidemic, what laws have been put in place to reverse it, along with voluntary recommendations that manufacturers are advised to include in their models that would reduce motorists’ susceptibility to take their eyes away from the roads. For instance, when a vehicle is in motion, so-called “lockout” functions would prevent mobile devices from displaying distracting images, including video, photographs or scrolling text. Additionally internet browsing capability would be unavailable when phones are in driver mode.

Anthony Foxx outgoing secretary for the U.S. Department of Transportation, noted that smartphones are ubiquitous and far too many people are putting lives in jeopardy by using them when their undivided attention should be on what’s important.

“These common sense guidelines, grounded in the best research available, will help designers of mobile devices build products that cut down on distraction on the road,” Foxx explained.

Approximately 424,000 traffic injuries linked to distractions

An estimated 3,477 motorists were killed in distraction-related crashes in 2015, according to government data. That’s a near 9 percent increase from the 3,197 that occurred the year prior. Additionally, of the 5.6 million non-fatal highway collisions over the calendar year, 424,000 were injured in incidents where multitasking was involved.

Mark Rosekind, NHTSA administrator, reminded motorists that this safety issue isn’t going away without the public’s cooperation.

“NHTSA has long encouraged drivers to put down their phones and other devices, and just drive,” Rosekind said. “With driver distraction one of the factors behind the rise of traffic fatalities, we are committed to working with the industry to ensure that mobile devices are designed to keep drivers’ eyes where they belong – on the road.”

On-board technology major selling point for buyers

“Millennial car buyers say they’d be willing to pay more for useful tech features.”

Meanwhile, many automakers are attempting to find some middle ground by installing in-vehicle technology that makes mobile devices accessible, but in a safer environment. The public seems to appreciate these advancements, as a newly released poll from Autotrader found almost 50 percent of car buyers places in-vehicle technology ahead of brand or body style in terms of what they most want in an auto purchase. Specifically, a majority of millennials polled said they’d be willing to pay more, so long as they were able to get their vehicle outfitted with the technology and safety features that they’ll use.

Who’s at fault in car accidents where distractions are involved isn’t always simple to determine. And when technologies designed to prevent them fail, it adds another layer of complication. If you find yourself in one such legal situation, Global Financial Credit may be able to help.  Take a look and see how you may be eligible to get a cash advance for a lawsuit, whether you’re the plaintiff, defendant or attorney.

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