At least nine road users in Tennessee and the country are killed each day and a further 100 are seriously injured in accidents caused by distracted drivers according to the National Safety Council. Distracted driving crashes also cost the economy about $40 billion each year. Common driver distractions include conversations with passengers, sophisticated automobile entertainment and navigation systems and eating and drinking behind the wheel, but studies suggest that cellphone use is a particularly thorny problem.
When Harvard Medical School researchers asked 1,211 motorists about their driving habits in 2016, six out of 10 of them admitted to using their cellphones while driving on at least one occasion within the previous 30 days. What concerned researchers even more was how the devices were being used. Almost half of the motorists polled said that they regularly used their cellphones to type or read text messages, visit websites or engage in social media exchanges.
While technology may be the cause of many distracted driving accidents, it could also provide ways to reduce the risks. Carmakers are developing systems that monitor drivers and issue alerts when they allow their minds to wander or take their hands off the wheel or their eyes off the road. Methods that auto manufacturers are testing to warn distracted drivers include dashboard lights that change color and audio systems that mute automatically.
The electronics systems of modern vehicles store large amounts of information on black box-type devices under the hood. When their clients suffer injuries in motor vehicle accidents that may have been caused by a distracted driver, experienced personal injury attorneys might seek to obtain this data. Civil litigants must only convince juries that their allegations are more likely true than false, and attorneys may seek to meet this standard in distracted driving cases by introducing evidence that reveals drivers took no evasive action before they crashed.