Advanced Crash-avoidance Features do not Lessen Drivers’ Duty to Focus Fully on the Road
Records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that 90% of all road crashes, which go beyond five million every year, is due to bad road behavior, such as driving while intoxicated, speeding, driving recklessly, ignoring traffic signs and signals, making improper lane changes, not focusing on the road, and either texting or talking with someone over the phone.
Using a cell phone, while driving, is now the worst form of driving distraction in the US. In 2012, distractions while behind the wheel resulted to 3,328 fatal crashes and 421,000 injuries, an increase of 9% from the 387,000 figure in 2011 and, while all other 2013 road accident data from the NHTSA showed declines in death and injuries (these include records on the different types of vehicle crashes and the causes of these crashes, and injuries involving pedestrians, motorcyclists and bicyclists), distraction-affected crashes resulting to injuries remained to increase.
As defined by CDC, driving distraction is any activity that takes away a driver’s attention on driving. The real scary thing about this is that anyone is prone to distractions, including drivers who are always concerned about safety. There is a very long list of actions that can distract a driver, so many of these are too simple that people usually never realize the risk of accident they present. Distractions include conversing with a passenger, eating, looking at a map, adjusting a GPS or the car radio, turning the radio’s volume to full blast, fixing a tie, reaching for something from the backseat, playing with a child, putting on makeup, driving angry, and so forth.
Professional drivers and authorities list down three major types of driving distractions, namely:
- Visual, which involves taking one’s eyes off the road;
- Manual, which is taking the hands off the wheel; and
- Cognitive, a case wherein a driver’s mind wanders off
Driving requires undivided attention on the road. This is to enable a driver to veer away from anything that may cause an accident without losing control of the vehicle. Recently, various advanced crash-avoidance features have been installed in cars which hope to prevent or avoid accidents, or help reduce the severity of an impact. Some of these features are improved seat belts and air bags, the All-wheel drive, which maximizes traction by distributing power to both front and rear wheels, the Electronic Stability Control, which helps drivers maintain control of their vehicles even during extreme steering maneuvers, the Automatic braking, which allows a car to brake automatically to prevent a crash or lessen its impact, and Reverse backup sensors, which automatically beeps if a driver is about to hit something while backing up.
Despite these advanced safety features, a San Antonio personal injury attorney would mention that auto accidents remain a top cause of serious injuries and wrongful death in the US, primarily because of distracted driving, which is an act of negligence and which makes an erring driver totally responsible for the pain, suffering, and losses that victims sustain in an accident.
This suffering, which the Cazayoux Ewing Law Firm explains in an article in its website, does not only include the physical and emotional pain experienced by victims, but the growing financial burden resulting from medical costs and other damages as well.