Each year, distracted driving claims the lives of motorists and pedestrians across the United States. In fact, federal statistics show that distracted drivers killed 3,166 people in 2017, and many of these fatal accidents took place in Minnesota.
Driverless vehicles are supposed to be the solution to this deadly issue. However, some experts say they are currently making the problem worse. While several companies are testing fully automated vehicles, it will be years before they are ready for the road. In the meantime, many advanced semi-autonomous features are being added to vehicles. These features use cameras, sensors and computer AI to observe a vehicle’s surroundings and help a driver avoid collisions. For example, automatic emergency braking systems monitor the distance between a car and the vehicle in front of it. If the gap becomes too small, the system will apply the brakes, avoiding a forward collision. Meanwhile, lane departure warning systems can detect if a vehicle starts to drift from its lane and automatically steer it back to safety if the driver fails to act.
When used properly, these semi-autonomous features save lives. The problem is, many drivers treat them like they are fully autonomous and become complacent while using them. A study published in the Journal of Safety Research found that drivers who used semi-autonomous features in their car had slower reactions times behind the wheel. This can lead to serious accidents because semi-autonomous systems depend on drivers to intervene if they make a mistake. Until fully automated cars are introduced, experts say that drivers must remember to remain alert behind the wheel and not trust semi-automated technology to avoid collisions.
Victims of distracted driving car accidents might be owed compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and property damage. A personal injury attorney might be able to file a claim and obtain a fair settlement on a client’s behalf.