Many drivers in New York become distracted by the new technology out there, including not only smartphones but also infotainment systems and automated features like Tesla’s Autopilot. Data from Agero, a provider of roadside assistance systems, suggests that drivers between the age of 17 and 22 are especially prone to distraction: they use their smartphones a full 12 percent of their time behind the wheel.
Distracted driving may be to blame for the more than 10 percent increase in the number of fatally injured drivers from 2014 to 2017. The U.S. DoT estimates that in 2017, over 37,000 drivers died on America’s roads. A study from Nauto, a maker of smart cameras, found that over the course of four months, 67 of the severe collisions that a given fleet encountered were caused by distracted driving.
Other studies focus on how new tech affects drivers. University of Utah researchers had 64 participants make calls, send texts and use the navigation features on the infotainment systems of five different vehicles as well as on smartphone interfaces. Researchers found that the interfaces demanded less attention but were nevertheless unsafe.
An MIT study is analyzing driver behavior in semi-autonomous vehicles. One purpose is to keep things human-centered and determine, for instance, just how often drivers should look at the road and how they can detect threats.
Even if vehicles become fully autonomous, drivers will be held responsible for any negligent behavior when they cause an accident. Victims can file an auto accident claim with the other party’s insurance company, but they may benefit from hiring a lawyer. An attorney may hire experts to obtain a copy of the police report in addition to things like eyewitness testimony and physical evidence at the crash site. The lawyer may also be able to negotiate for a settlement or take the case to court.