Is Your Phone Trying to Kill You?
Virtually everyone in the United States has a smartphone. These handheld devices act as GPS gadgets, phones, laptop computers, and electronic gaming centers. When Apple launched the iPhone, the world of cellphone technology changed and with it came dangers. Siri is just one of those dangers, and soon, this type of hands-free option will be available as a standard option in virtually all cars. While voice control options like Siri may seem like a safe way to navigate through your cellphone while driving, nothing could be farther from the truth. Hands-free talking, texting, and web surfing takes our cognitive attention away from the task at hand—driving. The result is catastrophic and deadly car accidents that are occurring at an alarming rate.
How Dangerous is Distracted Driving?
In 2012, more than 3,300 people were killed in accidents involving a distracted driver, and more than 421,000 were injured. Distractions are a part of our everyday life—and today’s drivers are bombarded by a multitude of them, including:
- Talking on cellphones
- Operating Siri or other voice commands
- Changing the radio station
- Using a GPS device
- Putting on makeup
- Reading a map or book
- Eating and drinking
- Reading billboards
- Disciplining children
- Talking or interacting with other passengers
While distractions are a part of every day life, the smartphone has taken distracted driving to a whole new level. Drivers are now able to surf the Internet, order takeout food, answer work emails, and get the news while navigating through rush hour traffic. It is estimated that at any given moment, more than 660,000 drivers are using their cellphone while driving. This increases the chances of being in a serious automobile accident by 3x!
Is Siri any Safer?
A recent State Farm funded report found that hands-free devices didn’t really curb dangerous and distracted driving behaviors. A AAA study also found that voice controlled devices are just as distracting to drivers as using the hand-held device itself. Drivers often strain to hear Siri talking, trying to make sure she heard them correctly. As a result, their attention is shifted off of the road. The AAA study found that when drivers focused on using voice controlled devices; they became less aware of the road around them. This resulted in a decreased ability to avoid accidents, notice emergencies before they were too late, and anticipate sudden traffic stops. This lack of cognitive focus often resulted in serious and fatal motor vehicle collisions, pedestrian accidents, and bicycle crashes.
The AAA Study
The AAA study took 162 drivers through an obstacle course while completing a set of voice instructions. They were instructed to only use voice commands to dial a phone, change music, and ask Siri a question. Their heart rates and brain activity were monitored as they completed these tasks. Talking to Siri required the most brain activity and resulted in the worst distraction scores—even worse than writing an email using voice command.
The results of the study were surprising; especially since a majority of car manufacturers are going to some length to incorporate voice commands into their vehicles. With more states requiring the use of hands-free devices to talk and text, more drivers are using Siri and other hands-free driving options. If Siri and other hands-free devices still result in distracted driving—it means that the majority of drivers are engaging in dangerous driving behaviors—even when they think that they are being responsible.
A Miami Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident with a distracted driver, you need an experienced lawyer on your side. From the moment you are injured, your Miami car accident lawyer will go to work, building a case that is designed to prove liability and obtain the maximum compensation. When distracted driving is to blame, your attorney may need to review cellphone records to show that the driver was distracted at the time of the accident. Your attorney may also need to use forensic analysis of tire tracks, and interview eyewitnesses to obtain a complete picture of what happened in those moments prior to the crash. If distracted driving is to blame, you may be able to obtain far greater compensation.