As a Phoenix car accident attorney who deals with the fallout of collisions on an ongoing basis, it’s hard not to notice that driving a car can be more like playing a video game nowadays. From the driver’s seat, we can search thousands of radio stations, request driving directions, surf the web, make phone calls, send text messages, update our Facebook status and adjust many other features of our vehicle. While many of these devices are designed to be voice-operated and hands-free, not everyone’s buying it. The main arguments against these devices are that we’re compromising roadway safety with all of these unnecessary distractions.
Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) submitted a set of recommendations to car makers, asking them to tone down the technology to help keep drivers’ attention on the road and to reduce the risks of car accidents in Phoenix and elsewhere. The NHTSA isn’t asking that these devices be completely eliminated from all cars. The agency is simply asking that these devices be disabled when a car is in drive, according to the Arizona Daily Star.
There are a lot of in-car technologies designed to help make driving a little easier and our roadways a little safer. These are things like the advance warning systems that alert you before you encounter a potential accident. These types of safety devices are exempt in the NHTSA’s proposal. Gloria Bergquist with the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers says that automakers already have their own guidelines that they’ve been operating under since 2002. She says that drivers are going to talk on the phone and chat with passengers and look for directions and listen to music while they’re driving – no matter what. She says we might as well offer them a safer way to do it.
“The guidelines we’re proposing would offer real-world guidance to automakers to help them develop electronic devices that provide features consumers want without disrupting a driver’s attention or sacrificing safety,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.
Bergquist says if we don’t have these devices available in today’s cars, drivers are going to go back to talking on a hand-held phone and looking at actual paper maps, which is even less safe. There’s got to be a happy medium.
Despite the government’s proposal, Bergquist says it’s not a good idea to turn these devices off while the car is moving. There are often passengers present who are good candidates for working these devices. She adds that if GPS devices are disabled while the car is in drive, motorists will simply start bringing their own hand-held GPS devices with them, which will ultimately defeat the purpose.
Barbara Harsha, with the Governors Highway Safety Association, says that these new recommendations from the NHTSA are a good step in achieving better driver attention. She says there should be no in-car electronics – just the car, the driver and their eyes on the road.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a distraction-related car accident in Phoenix or in any of the surrounding areas, call the Arizona accident lawyers at Abels & Annes for a free, no obligation consultation. Contact us online or call 602-819-5191 to speak directly to a lawyer today.
More Blog Entries:
Fewer Rules Put Teenagers at Higher Risks for Car Accidents in Arizona, Nation, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, February 7, 2012
Drivers Distractions Increasing Risks of Car Accidents in Arizona, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, January 18, 2012