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Do Touch Screen Electronics in Cars Cause Auto Accidents?

There seems to be a consensus that texting or talking on your cell phone while driving is a major cause of automobile accidents.

Jurisdictions across the country have been scrambling to pass laws prohibiting texting or talking on the phone while driving. Texting is only the tip of the iceberg, however. Are we going to criminalize all forms of distracted driving? Is that possible or desirable?

As auto accident lawyers in Myrtle Beach, SC, we know that all kinds of distracted driving contribute to car crashes. What about touch screen electronics in vehicles?

Which Cars are the Most Distracting?

Researchers at the University of Utah conducted a study that tested just how distracting the entertainment systems are in 30 different types of cars. There was no good news - they found that every one of them was distracting to some degree although some were worse than others.

The worst offenders, ranked as a "very high" danger of distraction by the researchers, were:

  • Audi Q7 QPP
  • Chrysler 300 C
  • Dodge Durango GT
  • Ford Mustang GT
  • GMC Yukon SLT
  • Honda Civic Touring
  • Honda Ridgeline RTL-E
  • Mazda3 Touring
  • Nissan Armada SV
  • Subaru Crosstrek Premium
  • Tesla Model S
  • Volvo XC60 T5 Inscription

Touch-screen electronics in cars typically include GPS/ navigation, radio, mp3 players or other sources of music, and phone connections. Are people going to stop buying cars that have distracting electronics? Doubtful. Will people stop using their electronics while driving? Also, doubtful.

How Can We Stop or Decrease Distracted Driving?

12 of the 30 vehicles that were tested allow people to access the electronics and program the navigation system while driving...

If you put electronics in a car, people are going to use them. Why not limit the use of the electronics and therefore limit the risks of distracted driving by only allowing people to program the electronics while the car is stationary?

Jake Nelson, director of traffic safety advocacy and research at AAA, said automakers should improve their systems by preventing people from accessing certain features while the vehicle is in motion.

"These are solvable problems," Nelson said in a statement.

Criminal or traffic laws are not going to solve the problem of distracted driving. We can't and shouldn't criminalize all forms of distracted driving - talking on the phone, using GPS systems, combing your hair, eating a Big Mac, or changing the radio station.

But, auto manufacturers can put safeguards in place that will help to minimize the distractions caused by electronics systems. Maybe, we should not have the option of setting our GPS on a touch screen as we fly down an interstate at 70 mph in heavy traffic. Pulling off the road before resetting our destination is annoying but, if everyone must do it, how many lives would be saved?

Were You in a Car Crash Caused by Distracted Driving?

If a driver caused a crash, injuries, or even a death because they were not paying attention to the road, they were negligent. They are responsible for the damage that they caused, and your auto accident attorney at Axelrod and Associates will help you to hold them accountable.

If you have been hurt 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.

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