Distracted driving is a major problem in the United States. It doesn’t matter if a driver is distracted visually, manually, or cognitively—the results are the same. An inattentive driver is unable to fully process what’s going on around them and can easily cause an accident that results in injuries or loss of life.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately nine people are killed and over 1,000 are injured every single day as a result of distracted driving. When this happens, lives are turned upside down.
While there are a number of statewide and nationwide campaigns and initiatives targeting reducing instances of inattention behind the wheel, car manufacturers are also taking steps to implement technology in their vehicles that deters distracted driving.
Using Technology to Reduce Distracted Driving
Because distracted driving is such an issue, car manufacturers have developed technologies to assist in the prevention of accidents. While it’s nearly impossible to make any given driver focus on the road in front of them, there are ways to encourage drivers to remain attentive and take control of the vehicle when the driver isn’t paying attention to the road.
Crash Avoidance Systems
Accident mitigation technology has two functions. The first is to notify the driver of danger ahead. This could include stopped vehicles, pedestrians, or animals. The second function is to autonomously stop the vehicle in the event the driver can’t brake in time to avoid a crash. Crash avoidance systems can intervene when a driver is distracted, like when stuck in a traffic jam or while trying to find a place to park in a busy lot.
Hands-Free Connectivity and Voice Controls
Bluetooth connectivity packages are common with cars on the market today. They let drivers talk and manage their phones and media devices hands-free. Some vehicles also come with voice-activated features that allow the driver to easily use voice commands to control a number of the vehicle’s systems like navigation, audio, climate control, and other electronic systems.
Lane Departure Warnings
Head-on collisions, which are among the most fatal, are often the result of lane departure. While causes tend to revolve around intoxication and drowsiness, inattention plays a role as well. As a result, auto manufacturers have developed lane departure warning technology. When a driver strays over road markers without signaling, the lane departure system notifies them with a warning tone or physical alert, like vibrations in the steering wheel. More advanced systems have the ability to move the vehicle back into the proper lane.
Technology from Industry-Leading Car Manufacturers
While the features listed above are found in cars of all makes and models, some manufacturers are taking it a step further by implementing systems specifically geared towards reducing the number of distracted driving accidents.
- Volvo’s Vision 2020. The Swedish manufacturer plans to put in-car cameras that will watch drivers to ensure they’re paying attention to the road. The cameras will look at facial expressions and pupil responses to determine how engaged the driver is. If the car notices the driver isn’t paying enough attention, it will alert them with a notification sound or message on the dashboard.
- Ford’s SYNC. In 2007, Ford introduced SYNC technology. The factory-installed infotainment system allowed drivers to make calls and send texts through voice controls. The technology has advanced as the years have passed. In newer models, drivers can look for directions, change the music, and ask Amazon Alexa to look up movie times or complete purchases from Prime.
- Subaru’s DriverFocus. Known for vehicle safety, Subaru’s 2020 Subaru Forester is equipped with DriverFocus. This facial recognition software can tell the car if the driver is distracted and remind them to focus on the road.
- Tesla’s Autopilot. While the technologies above combat distracted driving, Tesla’s newest car is removing the possibility of driver inattention by having the cars drive by themselves. The Autopilot function relies on eight cameras, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and a forward-facing radar system that can see through heavy rain and fog. The vehicles can match the speed of traffic, stay in or change lanes, exit highways, and park on their own.
Even with the technology discussed above, human error can play a role in any car accident. If you’ve been injured as a result of a distracted driver, you have the right to pursue legal action to seek compensation for your losses. Filing a personal injury claim with the help of a lawyer from Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC, is the most assured way to recover and move forward. To learn more about your legal rights and options after a crash, schedule a free consultation with our office today.