First, there were beepers. Then, there were cell phones. Then, GPS devices became available to the public. These were major technological advancements that provided extraordinary conveniences but also created new distractions for drivers behind the wheel.
Based on what we saw last year, in 2016, we are likely to see the rapid expansion of several new mobile and in-car technologies. Many of these make it easier – and more enticing – for drivers to take their eyes and minds off of the roads. Will these new technologies lead to an increase in the number of accidents? Only time will tell, but we would not be surprised to see auto accident numbers continue to rise in 2016.
New Technologies Impacting Driver Safety
By now, most of us have at least seen pictures of Google’s self-driving cars. You may have also read that the cars have required hundreds of human interventions over the course of their 14 months on the road.
While Google’s cars have made headlines, numerous auto manufacturers are researching and rolling out self-driving technologies as well. From Mercedes to Tesla, big companies are spending big bucks to turn us all into passengers in self-driving cars.
Apple released its long-awaited Apple Watch in 2015, and since then, we have seen an explosion of options when it comes to wearable devices. Today, numerous companies offer watches that will connect to your cell phone, and you can now buy everything from connected fitness trackers to glasses with a heads-up display.
From phones to cars, voice-activation seems to be the latest craze in convenience-oriented technology. While voice control has been around for years, it has seen a recent spike in popularity. Instead of typing a text or manually inputting an address into your GPS, now you can literally say what you want to say or tell your car where you want to go and technology will do the rest.
The Risks for Drivers and Passengers
While automation and voice control systems may seem like advances that will reduce the risk of accidents, experience has yet to bear this out. Self-driving cars still need human intervention and studies have shown that using your cell phone hands-free is no safer than manually dialing or texting while behind the wheel.
Some day we may get to a point where technology truly allows us to forget about the road. But, we’re not there yet. Unfortunately, many drivers seem to think that we are already there. Driving distractions are among the leading causes of auto accidents, and with advertisements and the media telling us that the future is here (though manufacturers’ fine print says differently), it is clear that some drivers are getting a bit too relaxed behind the wheel.
Morrow & Sheppard LLP | Houston Accident Lawyers
Morrow & Sheppard LLP is a Houston, TX personal injury law firm that represents victims and their families after serious motor vehicle collisions. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in an accident in the Houston area, feel free to contact us for a complimentary consultation.