Using a cellphone or other electronic device to send or receive text messages while behind the wheel is a violation of Minnesota law, but this kind of legislative action has done little to stem a worrying surge in distracted driving in recent years. Driver distraction plays a role in one in four motor vehicle accidents in Minnesota, and figures from the state’s Office of Traffic Safety reveal that these crashes claim at least 70 lives each year.
The increasing number of distracted driving accidents is generally put down to the growing popularity of smartphones, and the data suggests that stricter laws may not be enough to tackle the problem. Public education campaigns such as Minnesota’s ‘body bag” commercials have attempted to make motorists more aware of the risks and consequences of using electronic devices while driving, but most experts believe that advances in technology are more likely to provide a long-term solution.
Electronics manufacturers are working on systems that would make their devices more difficult for motorists to use, and Apple is said to be introducing a feature on their upcoming iPhone that will disable texting functions when the device senses that it is being operated by a driver. However, most road safety advocates believe that autonomous vehicles have even greater promise. They say that self-driving cars eliminate human error and could one day make distracted driving accidents a thing of the past.
Distracted drivers often crash at high speeds because they rarely take evasive action. The kind of catastrophic injuries suffered in these accidents sometimes require months or even years of costly medical treatment and physical rehabilitation, and experienced personal injury attorneys may consult with medical experts before filing lawsuits on behalf of car accident victims. Calculating damages is an important part of preparing litigation, and speaking with doctors and specialists could help attorneys better understand the long-term financial needs of their clients.