Are smart cars making us not so smart drivers?


Half a century ago, the common wisdom among Detroit automotive engineers was that it was possible to trace nearly all road crashes to a single component, or nut: the “nut” behind the wheel.1

Fast-forward to today and cars have evolved to become smarter. Sensor-driven technologies and advanced imaging capabilities help drivers stay in lanes, pass safely, and even slow down or put on the brakes. Yet, a recent nationwide survey suggests these “smart” technologies are actually making for dumber drivers. Of more than 1,000 survey respondents, 42 percent of drivers admitted to texting, emailing or video chatting while using their car’s smart driving features, such as lane-keeping assistance and adaptive cruise control.

The smarter the car, the more distracted the driver

Since the inception of the automobile, human error has been the probable or definite cause of over 90 percent of all car crashes. In as early as 1979, Indiana University published a “Tri-Level Study of Accident Causes” that identified “human errors and deficiencies” as the leading cause of traffic injuries and fatalities. Since then, more than 100 national and international studies have been published on the dangers of driver errors, with the majority citing technology as a helpful solution to improve these driver impairments.

Yet, new data shows that as cars become smarter and safer, drivers are taking more risks when behind the wheel. Whether over-confident in their car’s ability to self-operated or their own ability to multi-task, drivers who use smart technology are twice as likely to engage in dangerous driving activities.

What risks are drivers in smart cars taking?

Drivers with cars that have smart technologies, such as adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assistance, are more apt to use their smartphone while driving.

In a survey of more than 1,000 licensed drivers over the age of 18:

  • 62% texted while using smart technology
  • 56% used their smartphone for social media purposes while using smart technology
  • 39% video-chatted while using smart technology

Today, the biggest driver error that causes 90% of all car accidents in the U.S. is distracted driving. In 2017, more than 3,000 people were killed in accidents involving distracted driving. In 2018, Florida reported over 50,000 car accidents caused by distracted drivers.1

Tips on how to be as smart as your smart car

When driving a car with smart technology—or any car for that matter—remember these helpful tips:

  • Don’t read or send text messages or emails
  • Don’t use social media apps
  • Don’t video chat
  • Don’t take photos or videos
  • Don’t enter GPS destinations

To avoid all temptations of using your phone while driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends driving with your phone out of arms reach.

Accidents caused by distracted driving are completely preventable. Keep yourself and others safe by choosing to not use your phone while driving, even if your car is equipped with enhanced safety features.

Are you a victim of distracted driving on the Treasure Coast?

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in an accident caused by distracted driving, including texting or recording videos while driving, contact the Law Firm of Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd.

Led by Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney, Steve Hoskins, our personal injury department specializes in litigating and settling automobile accidents caused by the negligence of others, especially distracted driving. Our firm has the expertise, experience, and resources to successfully take serious accident cases to trial, ensuring our clients and their families have the closure and financial security they need for a better future.

For a free case evaluation, contact us online or call us at 866-460-1990.

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