Every year, more than 3,000 people are killed in car crashes caused by distracted drivers. Another 430,000 victims are injured. Leading the list of behaviors and activities that cause drivers to become distracted are texting, talking on a cell phone, and using a smartphone to check emails, social media sites, etc. The federal government wants manufacturers of smartphones to lock out apps on the devices when a person is driving a vehicle.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced its voluntary guidelines last month, in an effort to combat the increase in distracted driving accident fatalities. According to the guidelines, when the phone is in “driver mode,” a person would still be able to use their phones to make phone calls, but they would be locked out of being able to enter text. Other activities, such as browsing the Internet, videos, photos, and text from books would also be inaccessible. Apps such as Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat would also be automatically shut down and inaccessible.
A driver would still be able to access a GPS app on their phone, however, there would be specific guidelines on how to avoid becoming distracted.
The NHTSA is pushing for manufacturers to develop technology that will know if someone is driving and automatically shut down the apps. Many new vehicles have the option of pairing the vehicle’s infotainment system to a smartphone, however, the federal agency wants smartphones to have a “driver mode” which the phone user could activate until the driving sensing technology can be instituted.
This safety initiative push comes as the year 2016 has produced a spike in car crash fatalities. According to preliminary data compiled by NHTSA, from January through June of this year, highway deaths alone increased 10.4 percent, to 17,775.
Our Carolinas injury law firm has written extensively about the grave dangers of cell phone use while driving. We have reported on hundreds of accidents where victims were tragically killed or severely injured because a driver was paying attention to their cell phone instead of focusing on the road.
If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, or have lost a family member in a distracted driving crash, contact a skilled North Carolina wrongful death attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have against the negligent driver for your pain and loss.