Distracted driving leads to thousands of fatal car accidents on United States roadways every year. Many items and activities can create distracted drivers, but without question, the most common source of distraction in vehicles is driver use of cell phones.
About a decade ago, it became a nationwide priority to reduce hands-on cell phone use while driving a car. It was at this time that car companies began manufacturing vehicles with sophisticated Bluetooth voice recognition software designed to allow a driver to use their cell phone while still keeping their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.
Many safety experts argue that the latest wave of technology aims to encourage driver cell phone use. New apps that are specifically designed to be used while driving are released every year. Navigation, Maps, and Snapchat are just a few of the most common. Newer car models from Ford, Honda, Hyundai, and Mercedes-Benz allow drivers to use Apple CarPlay, the voice recognition technology of Siri to make calls, dictate text, and use music apps hands-free. Automakers say that this new software allows their customers to concentrate on driving, even while interacting with their smartphones.
Newer cars with voice recognition software make up only a small fraction of the millions of vehicles on the road. Dash mount systems are available for older model cars and allow drivers to place their smartphone on their dash board in such a way that they can keep the road in their direct line of sight while they navigate their cell phone.
Voice Recognition Software Does Not Eliminate Distracted Driving
It is unclear just how much voice recognition software actually reduces driver distraction. Just because a driver has their eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel does not mean their mind is free from distraction. A recent study from the University of Alabama, Birmingham has shown that it is the conversation itself that causes drivers to become distracted.
Holding a phone, scrolling through a menu, and typing text all require the driver to take their eyes off the road and at least one hand off the wheel for a short period of time. Phone conversations can cause a driver to drive with only one hand for even longer. Voice recognition software and hands-free technology eliminate this element of smartphone-induced driver distraction.
Without question, using voice recognition software is safer than not using it. A driver with their eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel is obviously safer than a driver who is looking at their phone rather than at the road and using their hands to to text and scroll rather than steer. But voice recognition software does not solve the dangerous problem of driver distraction.
The goal of zero accidents caused by driver distraction is one we all share. But for this goal to be achieved, may safety experts believe that the use cell phones by drivers will need to be banned completely. And in an age of advanced technology where our daily lives are organized and designed around the use of our smartphones, banning the use of cell phones in vehicles is not likely.
It is important for every driver to make a conscious decision each time they drive to not let their smartphone become a distraction. No task is worth a fatal crash. If you or someone you love have been the victim of a car accident that was caused by a distracted driver, a Louisville, KY car accident lawyer from Thomas Law Offices can help. It is our goal to make certain that every driver in Kentucky reaches their destination safely. Contact our experienced legal team for a free, zero-obligation consultation of your case today.