Modern technology has made our cars safer and, at the same time, has become a leading cause of auto accidents by encouraging distracted driving. Advances in technology have also made it easier to identify the cause of a car crash and who was at fault.
Technology Makes Us Safer . . . and Causes Crashes
Advances in technology have made automobiles increasingly safer over the decades. Seatbelts have saved hundreds of thousands of lives since their invention and the passage of seatbelt laws across the U.S. Over time, cars have become safer with the installation of airbags and other safety devices. They have become more structurally sound and less prone to roll-overs. They have become safer through the use of on-board computers. Many cars will now automatically brake for you if another car or obstacle is approaching, and the development of driverless cars has been fast-tracked by several companies.
At the same time, technology in automobiles has led to more distracted driving accidents. The auto industry knows that everyone loves to have toys and gadgets at their fingertips in their cars, and many cars now come loaded with fancy electronics that can take your attention away from the road. The most common devices that result in distracted driving and auto accidents include:
- Texting. NHTSA studies have found that texting drivers are six times more likely to have an accident than a drunk driver.
- Cell phone calls. Although many cars will download your contacts and call data to the onboard computer, the driver must still look away from the road to find a contact or prior call and press the send button.
- GPS and navigation. Many drivers will use the GPS on their cellphones while driving. Many cars now have GPS built into the car's computer. Drivers will watch the map on a screen in their dashboard as they are driving and will often attempt to manually input an address while they are behind the wheel.
- Radios and mp3 players. Most cars today come equipped with a radio, cd-player, mp3-player, and even DVD players. Music can be listened to via satellite, CDs can be inserted and changed while driving, and mp3s are often downloaded from the driver's cell phone as they are driving down the road.
- Bluetooth. The difficulty of using some Bluetooth systems results in divided attention while driving, particularly when the system fails and the driver then manually inputs the information as they are driving.
Technology Can Also Prove Your Case
Most modern vehicles contain what is called an Event Data Recorder (EDR) or "black box." By analyzing the data from EDRs, police and accident reconstructionists can extract a large amount of information that allows them to recreate what happened during the accident and determine who was at fault. The data collected by EDRs includes the vehicle's speed, changes in velocity, engine throttle, and brake use. When the airbags deploy, the information is stored permanently and can be accessed by your personal injury lawyer's experts.
Many cars today have dashcams, witnesses are quick to record incidents on their cellphones, most police cars are equipped with dashcams, and it is becoming more commonplace for police officers to wear bodycams. Video of an incident or the aftermath of an auto crash can be very helpful in determining who was at fault and what damages resulted.
If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident, schedule a free consultation with a Myrtle Beach personal injury lawyer on the Axelrod team. Call us at (843) 916-9300 or fill out our contact form today.