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Old-fashioned distractions still cause crashes

Distracted driving remains a major problem for drivers in New York and across the country. According to federal statistics, distractions cost at least 3,450 lives from 2016 auto accidents alone. With ever-increasing levels of technological integration and more drivers admitting to the use of cellphones behind the wheel, distracted driving is not a risk likely to be eliminated anytime soon. Most of the focus regarding distracted drivers is on technology, but motorists should be vigilant regarding more traditional distractions as well.

People tend to think that distracted driving made its appearance with the advent of mobile phones and GPS technology, but that idea is far from the truth. Roadside attractions, interesting billboards and a myriad of other factors have been taking eyes off the road since cars came into existence. With faster cars and more congestion, consequences of being distracted have increased. Some people think that the future proliferation of self-driving vehicles will eliminate the risk, but this also is not true.

Vehicles with autonomous driving technology still require a driver behind the wheel for interventions. Unfortunately, when the car does most of the maneuvering by itself, drivers are at high risk for daydreaming, which can cause disaster in the event of sudden emergencies. Manufacturers are considering the use of eye-tracking technology to ensure that the person behind the wheel of a self-driving vehicle keeps his or her eyes on the road. A recent study found that 61 percent of crashes attributed to distracted drivers included at least one motorist who was simply lost in thought at the time of the incident. According to that study, more accidents are caused by daydreaming than cellphones.

Whether an accident is caused by distracted driving or risky traffic maneuvers, people can be injured and suffer extensive damages when cars collide. Consulting a qualified motor vehicle accident lawyer may provide guidance and protection regarding consequences of a crash.

Source: United States Department of Transportation. "Distracted Driving." Accessed 4/16/2018.

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