The number of road users killed or seriously injured in Virginia from distracted driving accidents has risen in recent years. Unfortunately, efforts to tackle the problem with public information campaigns have been largely ineffective. Many road safety advocates believe that changing the way cellphones and other electronic devices work could be the most effective long-term strategy.
When the National Safety Council polled 2,400 American drivers about features that blocked certain functions in moving vehicles, more than half said that they would leave pre-set features in place to prevent accidents. Wireless service providers have taken action to curb distracted driving, but the applications they offer are not standard features and many of them fail to block social media notifications.
A group of Colorado-based entrepreneurs have taken the technological solution one step further. They have developed a device called Groove that automatically connects cellphones to the cloud when the vehicles they are fitted to are started. Drivers receive details about the calls, messages and notifications they missed about 10 seconds after switching off their ignitions. While the Groove is not yet available for purchase, the technology is currently being tested in the U.S. and Australia.
Accident investigators sometimes check cellphones to determine if distraction may have played a role. When police reports reach no firm conclusions and distraction seems likely, experienced personal injury attorneys can scrutinize wireless service records for calls, text messages and online activity that might be used to establish negligence and liability in a lawsuit. Attorneys could also use data taken from automobile black boxes to show that the defendants in these cases took no evasive action before crashing.