Goldstein, Heslop, Steele, Clapper, Oswalt & Smith

Does crash prevention technology stop distracted driving?

In a little over a decade, smart phones went from a new piece of interesting technology to an essential part of everyday life. Like most other people in Pennsylvania, you probably use your own smart phone for a wide range of tasks, including listening to music, browsing the internet and setting up GPS directions to new locations. Unfortunately, some people struggle to put their phones down while driving, putting you and everyone else at risk for a car accident. 

Distracted driving is a deadly habit. While most new vehicles now come equipped with crash warning systems, they may not actually be helping the problem. 

What are crash warning systems? 

Warning systems can work in a couple different ways. One of the most common systems alerts drivers to the possibility of a collision with a noise, such as a beep. The idea behind crash prevention technology is to not only stop collisions, but to encourage drivers to engage in safer behavior. 

Experts thought that, if a system alerted drivers to potential collisions enough times, they would get the picture, stop engaging in the distracting behavior and become better drivers overall. However, these systems seem to work differently than intended. 

Can technology stop distracted driving? 

Researchers from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety analyzed video clips from past crash prevention technology studies. The clips showed a mix of both adult and teenage drivers, some of whom drove vehicles with this technology, and some without. The results were much different than expected. 

The experts concluded that warning systems do not reduce the number of distracting behaviors in which drivers engage. These include looking at smart phones, manipulating the radio, talking with passengers and more. While these systems do seem to prevent crashes by briefly bringing drivers' attentions back to the road, they are not stopping anyone from checking Facebook from behind the wheel of their vehicle. 

What can I do? 

As a safe driver, you already wear your seatbelt, drive the speed limit and minimize potential distractions inside of your vehicle. However, driving safely is everyone's responsibility, and all it takes is one distracted driver to cause a serious collision. 

If you or a loved one received an injury due to a distracted driver, you need help. Car accident injuries are often severe, requiring ongoing medical care that can be costly, especially if you are out of work. A personal injury claim is usually the best choice for Pennsylvania victims who need help bridging the financial gap between their injury and their recovery.

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