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Vehicle Touchscreens Cause Distracted Driving, Studies Find

Delaware car accident lawyer explains why touchscreens can be dangerous

The dangers of distracted driving have been well documented for many years. Every day, distracted drivers cause serious car accidents. As a result, many states, including Delaware, have laws banning texting while driving and using a handheld cellphone on the road.

Most people only focus on texting and cellphones when considering what causes distracted driving accidents. But that's just the start. According to several recent scientific studies, in-vehicle dashboard touchscreens can be just as distracting to drivers on the road.

How dangerous are in-vehicle touchscreens?

Two recent studies focused on the dangers caused by In-Vehicle Information Systems (IVIS). Researchers from Drexel University conducted one study last year, according to Science Direct. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted the other study.

Researchers from Drexel University examined information collected by radar and cameras positioned to monitor driver behavior. Such data included information from 50 million vehicle miles driven in six states. Researchers concluded that IVIS touchscreens created “a major source of driver distraction,” especially for women and teenage male drivers, according to Treehugger.

But the AAA study reached a different conclusion. In particular, researchers found that male drivers 55 to 75 years old were more distracted than other age groups when operating in-vehicle touchscreens. Such activities include looking up directions, adjusting the radio or using other in-vehicle infotainment technology. When older male drivers used these touchscreens, they looked away from the road for more than eight seconds.

“Overall, older drivers experienced higher levels of cognitive and visual demand, compared to younger drivers, for both IVIS tasks and baseline tasks. These differences were even more pronounced for older drivers when completing any IVIS task,” AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reported.

But older drivers aren’t the only distracted drivers. According to AAA researchers, drivers in all age categories took more than 24 seconds to program a vehicle’s navigation system or text message while driving. And that's too long to look away from the road.

Understanding distracted driving accidents

Every day, nearly nine people die due to distracted driving accidents nationwide, according to statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). On average, distracted driving kills 3,274 people and injures 400,000 people each year, according to the statistics for the past decade.

“You cannot drive safely unless the task of driving has your full attention,” according to the National Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). “Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing.”

The CDC defines distracted driving in three ways: visual distractions, cognitive distractions and manual distractions. Visual distractions take a driver’s eyes off the road. Cognitive distractions interfere with a driver’s attention. Manual distractions require drivers to remove their hands from the wheel. Using these criteria, in-vehicle touchscreens distract drivers in all three ways.

Why should I hire a lawyer?

You might think you don’t need an attorney if a distracted driver caused your collision. The police officer who responded to your accident will likely conduct an in-depth investigation. That should be enough, right?

Don’t count on it. The police investigation does not focus on whether you receive full and fair financial compensation for your injury claim. That's our job. Our experienced Delaware car accident attorneys at the Law Office of Edward C. Gill, P.A.  can demand the money you deserve. We know how to build a strong legal case for claims involving distracted driving accidents. Our legal team can demand access to the at-fault driver’s cellphone records, dashcam footage if available and traffic camera footage. We leave no stone unturned in pursuit of the truth.

Learn more about your legal rights. Contact our law firm and schedule a free case evaluation with a Delaware car accident lawyer you can trust. We handle car accident claims throughout the state.


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