There is no doubt that car safety has gone a long, long way, especially in developed countries such as the United States. Thanks to technology, not only do car manufacturers have to adhere to minimum safety standards – other tech companies are also making gadgets that add to motorist safety. Or do they, really?
As impressive as in-car gadgets are today, the fact remains that car crashes are still rampant throughout the country. On average, over 37,000 people die in road crashes a year. Not to mention people who survive but sustain injuries that affect their standard of living. While they may be able to claim benefits with the help of a personal injury lawyer, this does not really change the fact that they have injuries for life, does it?
This brings us to the question: do in-car gadgets really help to increase safety, or do they compound the dangers of distracted driving?
What exactly is distracted driving?
Distraction.gov defines it as:
Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety.
These activities include, but are not limited to:
- Using a phone – that covers pretty much everything from texting to making calls to even using Waze!
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Grooming – oh, boy, Fran Drescher wasn’t really a good role model, was she?
- Adjusting the radio or music player
This definition basically means that a driver shouldn’t do anything but focus on the road, his surroundings, and drive!
But what about in-car gadgets that serve multiple, useful functions?
We can’t deny just how important these gadgets – and apps – have become in our commutes. Waze is brilliant, I myself have to admit that. It makes sure you don’t get lost, and it even gives you the best route to take so that you can avoid traffic if possible. Then there are all the other GPS systems that function the same way.
They can’t be bad for safety, can they?
We also can’t ignore in-car entertainment systems which keep the passengers – kids in particular – quiet, which is rather important for the driver’s sanity during a long ride. Are they bad for safety as well?
This really just brings us back to the definition of distracted driving. Anything that takes the driver’s full attention away from his task – driving – is a threat to everyone’s safety. And that means everyone: the driver, the passengers, other motorists, and bystanders.
Even if drivers think that they are great at multitasking and that they can text/talk on the phone while driving, statistics show that the danger this poses is too high. Take a look at this video, which may convince you how risky using gadgets in the car can really be.
The bottom line is that distracted driving will always be a result of using in-car gadgets. Whether you want to admit it or not, if you value your life, you might want to pull over or wait till you get to your destination before texting, calling, eating, and so on. And, if you need to use a navigation system, have the passenger do it. It’s for everyone’s good.
What’s your take? Is this alarmist, or is this true?
Related reading: 6 Reasons People Love to Buy Gadgets
Originally posted on February 13, 2015 @ 8:00 am