Distracted Driving: Smartphones And In-Vehicle Devices Keep Road Deaths At Record Highs

Newer technology is created to help keep us safer on the roads, but could it be causing even more distracted driving accidents? That seems to be the case, as deaths on the road remain at record highs. Newer technology could be playing a major part in these numbers, as we take a look here.

Distracted driving deaths

Distracted Driving Deaths

According to the National Safety Council, the number of deaths on roadways reached 40,000 in 2017. This number is down 1% from 40,100 in 2016, which is a good thing. However, these numbers are still at record highs despite having automatic emergency brakes in vehicles. Add in the fact that there are nationwide seat belt and sober driving campaigns to combat the issue.

Traffic deaths are at all-time highs right now, as they exceeded 40,000 in 2016 for the first time since 2006. In 2017, about 4.57 million people were seriously injured in motor vehicle crashes. With those crashes came costs to society, which reached nearly $414 billion, which was also down 1% from the year before.

Still An Issue

People spend a huge amount of time in vehicles, which is why these numbers are disturbing. Deborah Hersman, CEO of the National Safety Council, said, “This is a stark reminder that our complacency is killing us. The only acceptable number is zero. We need to mobilize a full court press to improve roadway safety.” Changes need to happen, as people still drive distracted, speed and drive under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

New Technology Issues

Drivers are becoming more and more complacent with things, as automobile technology sometimes makes us feel safer than we truly are being. In a new survey, 1,000 drivers were asked a series of questions. Drivers identified as “rarely distracted” were still talking on their cell phone, as 59% said they were. However, 93% of “distracted” drivers said they talked on their phone. The “rarely distracted” also use their GPS navigation apps, as 77% said they do compared to 96% for “distracted drivers” in the survey. On the opposite side of things, only 10% said they text while driving, while 63% of the “distracted drivers” said they text.

Part of the problem are these new built-in features on newer vehicles. A survey by the University of Utah found that in-vehicle information systems, like radios, cellphones, MP3 players and messaging devices, take the drivers’ attention off the road for too long to be safe. Basically, turn everything off and just focus on the roads, people!