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How Can Dashboard Mounts Affect Visibility?

Published on Jun 3, 2022 at 9:34 am in Car Accidents.

The possible contributing causes to a vehicular accident are countless. Even technology intended to improve driver and vehicle performance can be dangerous when used inappropriately. No accessory or device can think for itself—it’s up to the motorist to make sure that all their choices prioritize safe driving over entertainment, ease, laziness, or any other factor. As the use of technology in vehicles has increased, we’ve also seen a rise in the number of accidents caused by distraction and decreased visibility.

What about dashboard mounts? While dashboard, windshield, and vent mounts can decrease the prevalence of handheld phone use in cars, they can also obstruct vision and be a source of distraction. We’ll look more closely at what a dashboard mount is, where the best place to mount a phone or dashcam is, and what happens if another driver’s dashboard mount contributes to an accident.

What Is a Dashboard Mount?

A dashboard mount is a vehicle accessory that holds a personal device (often a cell phone, and sometimes a dashboard camera) securely to the dashboard or driver’s console. The mount typically grips the surface by means of a suction base or adhesive puck. It includes a cradle that holds the phone (often magnetically) with the screen facing the driver. When many U.S. states began banning handheld device use behind the wheel, dashboard mounts exploded in popularity.

This accessory is frequently used by drivers whose vehicles don’t include a built-in navigation system. A dash-mounted phone can be used for GPS navigation purposes. Drivers of older cars without Bluetooth capability also frequently use dashboard-mounted phones to have conversations, play music, or search for directions without using their hands.

Other similar car accessories include windshield mounts and vent mounts. Instead of attaching directly to the surface of the dashboard, these fixtures are mounted onto the glass of the windscreen or attached to the vehicle’s air vents. They serve the same purpose of holding a phone so it is easily accessible to the driver—without the need to reach to another area of the vehicle or hold the mobile device directly in hand.

Besides cell phones, dashboard mounts are sometimes used to secure dashboard cameras (or dashcams). A dashcam is designed to record events that happen on the road in front of the vehicle. Rather than facing the driver, a dashcam is directed out through the windshield to capture what takes place outside. These recording devices often contain valuable information that can be used to prove liability in the event of a car accident.

Where Is the Best Place to Mount a Phone or Dashcam While Driving?

A “dashboard mount” is generally a fixture mounted to the actual dashboard of a vehicle, but the term has come to mean any secured accessory attached in some way to the front area of the vehicle. This means a dashboard mount may, in actuality, be fixed to the:

  • Dashboard
  • Windshield
  • Air vent
  • Rearview mirror
  • Lower driver-side window
  • Driver’s console
  • CD player slot
  • Cup holder

Device holders can come in all shapes and sizes. Most are designed for cell phone use, but some are meant to accommodate larger screens like iPads and tablets. The large surface area of a tablet is not well suited for a dashboard mount. Large screens should only be used in locations out of the driver’s direct line of vision, like in a cup holder.

But even the smaller screens of a cell phone can easily distract a driver and block their vision. Dashboard mounts become a danger when they make it more difficult for motorists to clearly view the road ahead. Drivers need to be tuned in to changing traffic conditions and the sudden appearance of any hazard or obstacle. If a dashboard-mounted screen obscures a pedestrian or bicyclist, for example, it becomes an accident risk.

Drivers sometimes make unsafe choices when it comes to selecting the location of a dashboard mount. Many users seek to maximize convenience and comfort rather than considering what is safest. A device mounted to a dashboard, windscreen, or side window places an impediment in the driver’s line of sight. A device mounted to an air vent or cup holder encourages a driver to continually remove their eyes from the road ahead. While a dashboard mount can be advantageous in many ways, it also poses an undeniable hazard when inappropriately placed or used.

Many people also think about how to place the dashboard mount so it is easiest to reach by hand. This encourages them to continually reach for their device while driving—even if to simply silence a call or switch to the next song. This defeats the very purpose of the dashboard mount. Motorists can become just as distracted by a mobile phone mounted to the dashboard as one in their own hand.

What Happens if Another Driver’s Dashboard Mount Contributes to an Accident?

When we as car accident attorneys investigate a collision, we look into all factors that could have contributed to the cause of the crash. This often involves some out-of-the-box thinking. Traffic and surveillance cameras can provide helpful evidence, as can dashcams and photos of the accident scene when available. But sometimes this isn’t enough.

At Thomas Law Offices, we know that even a driver’s phone records or GPS data can provide vital evidence. Text messages can indicate that a driver was texting at the moment prior to the crash. GPS data can indicate that a motorist was speeding before the collision. Our lawyers have the knowledge and experience to look where other lawyers may not think to look for evidence that can support your car accident claim.

If you’re wondering what steps to take after your car accident, reach out with questions. A qualified car accident attorney from our firm is ready to talk with you. It’s possible that another driver’s dashboard mount contributed to your accident. If it did, we’ll get to the bottom of the situation and make sure liability is placed on the appropriate party. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options.

 

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Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

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