Distracted driving is not a new problem in the United States. It is no secret that the use of electronic devices while driving is on the rise, causing serious accidents on the New York roadways.
However, when distracted driving first became an issue, the main concern was that drivers were texting or making calls with their phones. Phones today are used for much more than just communication. Whether it is a game like Pokémon Go or a navigation app like Waze, people are now using the internet while driving and causing serious car accidents.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently reported that highway deaths have increased over 10 percent in the first six months of 2016 over the same period in 2015. Last year marked the biggest annual percentage increase in highway fatalities in 50 years.
The Department of Transportation, along with the National Safety Council and other groups, has come up with a "Road to Zero" initiative to eliminate roadway deaths over the next 30 years. This ambitious goal will require lots of changes. States will have to create stricter laws regarding seatbelt usage, helmet usage for motorcyclists, distracted driving and drunk driving.
Another thing that may help prevent accidents is the new self-driving technology that will reduce distracted driving. However, this new technology is not foolproof and can still result in accidents. Many automakers have installed software to allow hands-free phone and app use. However, while the driver's hands may be free, their minds may still be distracted.
As authorities work to solve the distracted driving problem, many people will tragically lose their lives or suffer severe injuries in a car accident. Those who suffer injuries or the loss of a loved one due to a distracted driver should be aware that they have a legal right to compensation.
Source: The New York Times, "Biggest Spike in Traffic Deaths in 50 Years? Blame Apps," Neal E. Boudette, Nov. 15, 2016