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Federal Government Intervenes to Reduce Distracted Driving Fatalities

Business man on cell while driviing

Nearly every state in the nation has laws prohibiting texting while driving, and the dangers of using a phone while behind the wheel have become common knowledge. Nevertheless, millions of drivers use their phones while driving each day, despite the resulting toll on human lives. In order to reduce this impact, the federal government has recently developed guidelines for use by mobile phone manufacturers in creating phone software to reduce behind-the-wheel distractions and distracted driving car accidents.

2015 was the first time in 50 years when more people died in traffic incidents than in the year before. One of the factors that has been identified as a cause in this rise is fatalities caused by distracted driving. The number of fatal accidents where at least one driver was found to be distracted at the time of the crash rose by over 9% in 2015, and accounted for at least 10% of all fatal injuries (though some experts suspect that this number may be even higher).

In order to combat this trend, the Department of Transportation has released voluntary guidelines for use by cell phone manufacturers in creating user interfaces for their devices. The guidelines recommend that phones be engineered to connect to the entertainment center built in to many new vehicles, so that drivers can easily have hands-free access to their devices. If the driver cannot connect their phone in this way, the guidelines suggest that phones offer something known as “driver mode.”

When in driver mode, phones would automatically disable certain features and applications when a car is shifted from “park” into “drive.” Drivers would be unable to access such apps as Snapchat, Facebook, or Twitter, and would be unable to enter text manually. Drivers would also be barred from playing videos while the car is in motion. The Secretary of the Department of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, explained that “far too many [Americans] are put at risk by drivers who are distracted by their cell phones. These common-sense guidelines, grounded in the best research available, will help designers of mobile devices build products that cut down on distraction on the road.”

If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident with a negligent or careless driver in Kentucky, contact the experienced and compassionate Louisville personal injury lawyers at the Slechter Law Firm for a consultation on your case, at 502-384-7400.