In the age of mobile technology, devices for personal use and in vehicles. Distracted driving has become more common with today’s drivers. New vehicles are being sold with multiple in-dash screens with navigation, phone connectivity, environment and vehicle status. These things take the eyes of the driver away from the road more often than usual. Although these technological advancements are helpful in the vehicle they are being taken advantage of by the driver while the vehicle is in motion.
Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, this includes talking, texting, eating, and drinking. Anything that briefly takes the drivers attention away from the road is a hazard to other drivers. Even the most skilled driver can easily make one mistake and cause an accident. Since more technology has been introduced into vehicles this has only increased the chances that a driver is distracted and not paying attention to the road.
In some vehicles video files can be played in the front driver’s dash screen or vehicles can be fitted with an in-dash media center for cars. In March of 2018, a driver hit a police bike that had apparently been riding the bike lane for 2 miles before the driver hit the biker. The officer who was fortunately uninjured noticed the driver had been watching a movie in his vehicle and the driver was ticketed with a $1000 fine.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted drivers has claimed over 3,450 lives in 2016 alone. This number will only increase over the years as more distracted drivers take the road. During daylight hours, approximately 481,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving. That creates enormous potential for deaths and injuries on U.S. roads. Teens were the largest age group reported as distracted at the time of fatal crashes.
Safety features in some vehicles activate when the vehicle is in motion, disabling on-screen features so that the driver cannot change settings or enter destinations in the GPS. The Apple iPhone has a feature that disables all incoming notifications while the vehicle is in motion or connected to vehicle Bluetooth. This feature was introduced in an IOS update last year from Apple to help drivers focus more on the road and not a new notification on their phone, however, this is an option that can be disabled.
Because of distracted driving, most automakers have started testing and introducing technology in vehicles that will stop a vehicle from colliding with another vehicle or object. These safety features include Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Detection and the Rear-View Camera. These vehicle features are becoming standard in most new vehicles today but are still not vastly offered in base model vehicles. As technology enhances the possibility of all vehicles having these safety features can improve the safety of drivers while limiting and hopefully eliminating distractions in the vehicle.