Distracted driving is a serious problem across the country, including the state of Kentucky. Although distraction can occur in a number of ways, mobile devices are particularly problematic. Texting while driving involves cognitive, manual, and visual distraction, and has been a focus for states in regulating the use of cell phones by drivers.
Distracted driving laws, though, are only one aspect of the solution, and not necessarily a particularly effective one. Too many drivers still choose to violate these laws and put other motorists at risk. To be sure, there are responsible drivers out there who do abide by these laws. Some even voluntarily make use of technology which puts their phone in a driving mode where the temptation to use their phone while driving is eliminated.
Apps like LiveSaver can, of course, play a part in addressing the problem of distracted driving, but waiting for people to voluntarily make use of such technology to eliminate the risk of cell phone distraction is probably too hopeful a solution.
The U.S. Department of Transportation apparently agrees with this, otherwise the agency would not have published guidelines last year calling on cell phone manufacturers to include a Driver Mode feature on phones which would lock out certain phone functions to prevent driver distraction. The guidelines are only voluntary, but they show that federal regulators have the issue in mind and set up the possibility of requiring such a feature in the future, whether by regulation or legislation.
Pressure to address the issue of cell phone distraction is also being put on manufacturers in the court system. For example, Apple is currently facing litigation out in California over whether it should have included a lockout system on its phones to prevent texting while driving and the use of FaceTime. It’s hard to say how far the litigation will go, but it is at least clear that manufacturers are being pressured from multiple angles to address the issue.
We’ll continue looking at this issue in our next post, and the importance for distracted driving accident victims of working with an experienced attorney to seek compensation against those responsible for harming them.
NHTSA, U.S. DOT proposes guidelines to address driver distraction caused by mobile devices in vehicles,” Nov. 23, 2016.
9to5mac.com, “Suspect lawsuit aims to force Apple to block texting while driving. Should it?,” Chance Miller, Jan. 18, 2017.