Posted On December 20, 2016 In Local Car Accidents
Distracted driving has become a major cause of car crashes across the United States. Recent statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) suggest smartphone use is partially to blame. Fatal car crashes increased by 10.4 percent in the first six months of 2016, compared to the same period last year. According to NHTSA, distracted driving caused 3,477 traffic fatalities last year, an increase of 8.8 percent since 2014. Recent news has highlighted how apps are responsible for many distracted driving crashes.
Drivers using apps like Facebook Live, Snapchat and Pokémon Go have caused high-speed car crashes. Some of these crashes have resulted in fatalities or serious injuries.
In one case, a motorist taking selfies with Snapchat’s speed filter feature crashed into an Uber driver at more than 100 miles per hour. The Uber driver suffered a severe brain injury. Another case involving the speed filter resulted in five fatalities. The responsible driver was travelling at 115 miles per hour, when he slammed into a Toyota minivan carrying a mother and her two children. The at-fault driver, his passenger and the mother and her two children died in the collision.
Snapchat’s speed filter feature is a perfect example of how apps are causing serious car accidents. The speed filter allows users to record how fast they are going while taking selfies. When users post these selfies or videos to their profiles, the app displays the speed for their friends. Snapchat has defended its speed filter by claiming it comes with a warning that it should never be used while driving. Unfortunately, it appears several users have ignored the warning. This is the crux of the problem. Users can just ignore the warning and use the app while driving.
NHTSA recently caused a controversy for asking phone manufacturers to lock apps for drivers. Phones would work with vehicle infotainment systems to prevent apps from working.
Ideally, this means the infotainment system could identify the driver and prevent certain features on their phones from working. Passengers could still use their phones. Some vehicle manufacturers have already installed similar features. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto work with infotainment systems and limit app usage. Despite the criticism that NHTSA is overstepping its mandate by asking phone manufacturers to lock phones, these would be voluntary guidelines.
NHTSA’s request for a “driver mode” could become an important step in reducing distracted driving crashes nationwide. Other technologies, such as self-driving vehicles, automatic brakes or V2V systems may also help save lives.
At Mike Love & Associates, LLC, we review your situation for free and spell out every option that may be available to you. If we can’t help there is no charge.