Modern technologies like smartphones and in-vehicle infotainment systems are increasing the risk of distracted driving accidents in Virginia and nationwide. However, auto engineers hope they can fight technology with technology and make U.S. roads safer.
According to a 2016 study, almost 50% of American drivers admit to sending or receiving texts, using smartphone GPS apps or browsing social media sites while driving. Given those results, it is little surprise the National Safety Council reports that nine people are killed and 100 others are injured in distracted driving crashes across the U.S. each day. To cut down on crashes, automakers have been adding technologies like forward collision avoidance and automatic emergency braking systems as options on new vehicles for several years. In fact, these systems will come standard on all new cars and trucks by 2022.
Auto engineers are also trying to create technologies that can directly combat distracted driving. For example, artificial intelligence, or AI, systems could use in-cabin sensors and cameras to monitor drivers for dangerous behaviors like distracted driving and drowsiness. Over time, the system could learn to predict the behavior of specific individuals and send alerts before they do something hazardous. When used in combination with crash avoidance systems, AI could greatly reduce distracted driving accidents.
Drivers, motorcyclists and pedestrians injured in motor vehicle accidents caused by distracted drivers have the right to pursue legal action in civil court. For example, an attorney could review the case and help gather police reports and other evidence proving that a distracted driver was responsible for the crash. This evidence could then be used as the basis for a personal injury claim seeking compensation for medical bills, rehabilitation costs, pain and suffering, lost wages, property loss and more. This lawsuit could be filed independently of any criminal charges that are filed.