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Distracted driving behaviors go beyond smartphone use

In the world today, it goes without saying that Connecticut drivers should be completely alert and aware of the potential dangers of crossing paths with a distracted driver. In the past, that might have been limited to cellphone use with the driver making calls or texting and driving. Then, as technology advanced, drivers were increasingly using smartphones for other purposes including navigation apps, surfing the web and social media. All are dangerous. Now, there is a growing number of people who are using infotainment systems that is placed in their vehicle. Understanding how this can affect driving safely is imperative when on the road.

In a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, it was found that outside companies' systems - namely those made by Google and Apple - are not as distracting as those installed by the manufacturer. CarPlay by Apple and Android Auto by Google have software that make them easier and safer to use. However, simply being "safer" does not imply "safe". While Apple and Google allowed drivers to access their functions more quickly - 5 seconds quicker to make a call and 15 seconds quicker when navigating - it is still risky to be doing anything other than watch the road when driving. In the U.S., there are an annual average of 3,500 fatalities and 390,000 injuries because of a distracted driver. Simply removing one's eyes from the road for 2 seconds doubles the chance of being in an auto accident.

The study was conducted in conjunction with the University of Utah. Although Apple and Google were found to be accessed faster, cognitive ability was still hindered depending on the task. Drivers will have their concentration divided no matter what their task is apart from driving. Examples include navigation systems taking as long as 33 seconds with the outside infotainment systems compared to 48 seconds for manufacturer installed systems. Drivers will travel a significant distance while distracted in either case.

It has gotten to the point in society that whenever there is an auto accident, it is almost immediately expected that the other driver was distracted. These studies show that a smartphone is not the only way for there to be a distraction. Any accident can result in severe injuries, hospitalizations, medical care, surgeries and lost time on the job. There can also be fatalities opening a whole host of other challenges for the family left behind. A full accident investigation can help to yield evidence as to the cause of the crash. A law firm experienced in distracted driving car accidents can be of assistance.

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