Is Infotainment Killing Us | Denver Car Crash Attorney
Infotainment is a new buzzword for everything that is both informative and entertaining. Infotainment pieces can be articles, blogs, and even videos. They can be found on our computers, our smartphones, and even in our cars. In fact, infotainment is everywhere –and this constant accessibility may be killing us.
The power of infotainment is a big selling point in new cars. People want a way to stay connected to the world around them €“ even while driving. They want to be able to access emails, text with family members, listen to podcasts, and access GPS all while sitting in rush hour traffic. Yet, all this infotainment comes at quite a price.
Every day in the United States, 9 people are killed and more than 1,153 people are injured in crashes caused by distracted drivers. Researchers have found that 69% of all drivers in the U.S. talk on the phone while driving. And 31% have read or sent text messages while driving at least once in the 30 days prior to the survey.
Yet, even with distracted driving accidents increasing, motor vehicle manufacturers continue to roll out vehicles equipped with the latest infotainment features. Why? Because customers really want it. In fact, it was a huge selling point for vehicles in 2015.
How Bad is Cellphone Use While Driving?
According to the National Safety Council’s website, 1 in 4 car crashes involve cellphone use. This includes texting, surfing the Internet, checking email, and talking on the phone. It is estimated that over 100 million cellular subscribers use their cellphones while driving. In fact, many use them routinely for work. While several states have banned cellphone use while driving, they do allow for hands-free phones. Yet, hands-free devices still result in cognitive impairment and put the driver at an increased risk for being involved in a distracted driving accident.
Infotainment features are a huge distraction for drivers €“ especially when touchscreens are involved. Even when hands-free systems are accessed, such as Siri, distractions still occur. A recent study found that hands-free devices have not really helped distracted driving and may actually increase the risk. The study found that drivers were still distracted when speaking to Siri or other voice-activated systems. They are focusing on making the device understand them and sometimes even reading the responses to be sure the message was sent clearly. When Siri doesn’t understand the instructions, drivers then reach for their phones to properly text or find the song they wanted to play. This lack of cognitive focus means that drivers are more likely to miss a stop sign, a bicyclist on the road, or a motorcyclist turning into their path.
Teens are More Susceptible to Infotainment While Driving
Among all teenage drivers, at least a fourth of them respond to a text message one or more times every time they get behind the wheel. One-fifth of teens and ten percent of their parents admit to having extended text conversations while they drive. Not surprising, young drivers have the highest incidence of crash or near-crash experiences due to cellphone use.
In a separate survey, texting or using social media were not the only distractions frequently engaged in by drivers. Although electronic distractions are definitely the most common, 15 percent of drivers admitted to brushing and/or styling their hair while driving, 9 percent admitted they changed their clothes while driving, 8 percent said they put on makeup behind the wheel and a startling 15 percent confessed to engaging in some type of €œromantic activity.€
What Can You Do to Lower Your Risk of a Car Accident
Even if your car is equipped with infotainment extras and features, avoid doing anything that takes your mind, hands, or eyes off of the road. If your cellphone is a temptation, try placing it in airplane mode while you are in the car. This will prevent others from texting or calling you while you are driving. Once you arrive safely at your destination, you can check emails and texts and answer any voicemails you have received.
If you own a business, consider implementing a no-phone policy for your workers. Encourage them to turn their phones off on their commutes and not to answer work-related texts and emails while driving. Go beyond the laws to follow the best practices for your employees. Remember, allowing your employees to use their cellphones while driving means that they are 4x more likely to be involved in a crash €“ making you and your company liable.
Contact our Denver Car Accident Attorneys
If you or someone you love has been involved in a car accident in Denver, Boulder, Longmont, or anywhere in the State of Colorado, it is important to speak to an experienced Denver car crash attorney immediately. Your attorney can help you obtain the money you need to pay for medical expenses, rehabilitation, lost wages, and more. Contact the Denver Law Firm of John R. Fuller, P.C. today at 303-597-4500 for a free initial consultation.