Texting while driving is illegal in Virginia (VA) and law enforcement has stepped up its fight against distracted driving by enforcing texting while driving bans. In New York, special unmarked SUV’s give police a bird’s eye view to find drivers who are texting. Is all this police intervention necessary? Our personal injury law firm, Shapiro, Lewis, Appleton and Favaloro, thinks so. That’s because 23% of all crashes involved a distracted driver with a cell phone.
If the temptation to pick up the cell phone wasn’t already enough now car manufacturers are outfitting new models with internet, facebook and texting built into the dashboard. Nissan now has an interface called Nissan Sync that allows drivers to use a touch screen while driving to check Facebook and other apps. This sounds like a terrible idea especially for teen drivers. When a Nissan spokeswoman was asked if this was dangerous she replied, “There is still some level of distraction but it is safer than typing on a cell phone.”
I’m not sure how she came up with that comparison but quite to the contrary in 2010 before much of this technology was available and dashboard controls consisted of air conditioning and radio controls there were 26,000 crashes caused just by adjusting the controls. Countless groups run campaigns to end distracted driving because of the horrible impact these preventable accidents have on victims. Our law firm is one of those and we participate in a nationwide program called “End Distracted Driving” that provides presentations to Virginia (VA) students that included videos of families and friends who suffered the death of loved ones in a variety of distracted driving circumstances.
If car manufacturers continue to put profits in front of safety then the tragic loss of life will continue. Finding a responsible way to offer new technology, such as only allowing the interface to work while the car is stopped, needs to be a priority for car manufacturers and consumers alike.