New federal guidelines seek to change the way smartphones can be used while driving.
Recently, federal traffic agencies asked smart phone manufacturers, including Samsung and Apple, to shutdown certain functions such as manual text entry and camera apps while the user is in motion. This may go a long way in preventing distracted driving fatalities.
Preventing Distracted Driving Fatalities
Last year, 3,500 people were killed on U.S. highways in distracted driving accidents. Many people believe that more needs to be done in order to curb this problem. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the new guidelines require smartphone makers to create a “driver mode” that will only allow some features to work while the user is moving. The users would still be able to use maps while driving.
In response to these guidelines, the Consumer Technology Commission, which includes members such as Samsung and Apple, has said that the guidelines are too extreme and would prevent the use of features that can help drivers make better decisions.
How Serious is the Problem?
Last year, the total number of highway deaths in the U.S. reached 35,092, a 7.2 percent increase over the past year. This increase can partly be attributed to an increase in the number of people driving and partly to other causes such as drink driving, speeding, and distractions. The number of distracted driving deaths accounted for 10 percent of all traffic-related deaths, an 8.8 percent increase over the previous year. Considering the trends, traffic experts expect these numbers to further increase in the current year as well.
Curbing the Epidemic
While federal agencies are taking steps to prevent the use of devices that can cause distraction while driving, it is ultimately the responsibility of all drivers to prioritize safety. Simple things that drivers can do include:
- Send texts, finish conversations, and set GPS direction before putting the vehicle into drive.
- Put the phone on silent mode or keep the phone in an area out of reach so that you do not instinctively use it the moment you hear a beep.
- If there is an urgent call that you must answer, carefully pull off the road or exit the highway. Do not merge into traffic before you finish your business.
- If you have a passenger, you can request them to take calls, manage the GPS, or reply to messages on your behalf.
Remember, even a few seconds of distraction can cause severe injuries and even death. Avoid distracted driving as much as you can and encourage others to do the same.
Chicago Auto Crash Lawyer
If you or someone close to you has been injured by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Speak to a Chicago auto crash lawyer to know your legal rights. Call Willens Law Offices at (312) 957-4166 for a free consultation.