Distracted Driving Laws Do Not Cover All Distractions
Even though new laws regarding cell phone have attempted to decrease the potential of driver distractions, there are still many other vehicle gadgets that could cause fatal distraction, such a GPS systems and built-in DVD players. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, contact a San Diego personal injury lawyer from the McClellan Law Firm at 619.677.1641 for a free consultation.
Year by year and model by model, motor vehicles are equipped with new, ever-evolving gadgets. From built-in DVD players to built-in GPS systems to self-parking features to an Internet browser in the dash, cars do more than just take us from place to place. But are all these vehicle gadgets in fact hazards to our safety?
The danger of cell phone use, especially texting, while driving is a hot news topic. Studies have shown that cell phone use while driving greatly increases the risk of an accident. As a result, many states having passed laws regulating distracted driving including texting and cell phone use.
But what about other in-car gadgets? Arenít they just as distracting as cell phones? For example, while GPS systems provide safety benefits by warning drivers of upcoming turns and lane changes, the units can also distract drivers if not used properly. Drivers using GPS systems sometimes turn their attention to the GPS while driving, and driving is most dangerous when drivers take their eyes off the road and hands off the wheel.
Another potentially dangerous in-car gadget is the built-in DVD player. Many vehicle models include the DVD player as a standard feature for passengers. Obviously, watching a DVD while driving creates a distraction for the driver. But adjusting the DVD player or even responding to childrenís requests while driving may also create a dangerous distraction.
Recently, Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood addressed the auto industryís advances in adding to vehicles high-end innovations like entertainment systems that have the potential to increase distracted driving.
LaHood discussed a three-prong approach to increase driver awareness of the dangers of distracted driving including education for younger drivers, acknowledgement by drivers of their personal responsibility to others on the road and stepped-up enforcement of distracted driving laws that are already on the books.
Motorists must be responsible for their actions behind the wheel. Responsible use of GPS units and other devices like DVD players requires that the devices be properly mounted and adjusted before the vehicle begins moving. Once the vehicle begins moving, drivers should take a hands-off approach to focus on the road, or pull over to adjust the device if necessary.
Some car companies also provide so-called safe gadgets that are already installed in the dash, are voice activated and will work only when the car is stopped. These features do foster safer use of the devices, but some worry that gadgets alone are dangerous regardless of such safety features.
The increasing regulation of cell phone use while driving and the awareness that other devices cause distractions suggests that down the road, these devices will also be regulated by distracted driving laws.
Do you suspect that the driver who injured you was distracted by a cell phone or another gadget? If so, contact a personal injury attorney near you. A lawyer will explain your legal options and guide you through the legal process so you can hopefully recover what you deserve.
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At The McClellan Law Firm in San Diego, we are trial lawyers first and foremost. Although complex personal injury litigation continues to form the foundation for our firm's success, we also represent businesses in corporate and commercial disputes, homeowners in real estate and construction defects litigation, and employees in cases of discrimination, sexual harassment, and employer retaliation. Contact us for a free consultation about your civil litigation claim at 619.677.1641