Florida highways may soon be a little safer with a new voluntary guideline that was initiated by the federal government on April 23. This policy requests that automakers begin equipping their vehicles with devices that require only momentary glances to operate. By replacing current devices with new automated or voice-activated units, the occurrence of distracted driving related accidents and catastrophic injuries is expected to fall sharply.
Studies have shown that drivers who look away from the road for as little as two seconds become significantly more likely to be involved in a collision. The Department of Transportation suggests that time-consuming functions like web browsing and text messaging should be limited to instances where the car is parked. They warn that even at slow speeds, engaging in texting or web browsing activity still presents danger to pedestrians.
The United States Transportation Secretary points out that distracted driving claimed the lives of over 3,000 people in 2011 and injured more than 387,000 others. With this in mind, the Transportation Secretary believes that this policy offers the best of both words. Consumers will get the innovation they want while simultaneously making public roadways safer for all.
From a legal perspective, this guideline has great potential to make roadways safer for drivers and pedestrians. Depending on the circumstances of the case, distracted driving may be considered a form of negligence. In such cases, parties that were affected by the negligence may seek monetary damages from the driver. The implementation of more automated communications devices like GPS units, entertainment devices and navigation equipment may reduce such occurrences.
Source: CNN, “Two second safety guideline for cars of the future,” Mike Ahlers, Apr. 24, 2013