MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,477 people were killed and another 391,000 were injured by distracted driving in 2015. Among the risky distracted driving behaviors Americans engage in, texting and driving is among the most dangerous. The average time it takes to read a single text message is 5 seconds. If you are driving 55 miles per hour, that’s like driving the entire length of a football field without your eyes on the road. While many states have outlawed texting and driving, not all states have made the practice a primary offense. In recent months, some companies have been called out for not implementing tools on their devices to prevent texting and driving. Some companies have even been threatened with lawsuits that accused them of being aware of the dangers their products posed but continuing to do nothing about it.
However, this may not be the case for long.
iPhone has announced that it will launch a new feature that will help users avoid the temptation of distracted driving. According to CNN, the new phones will come with a “Do Not Disturb While Driving Feature.” When the car is moving or when the phone is connected to the car, the phones will disable incoming messages and news updates. The feature can send automatic messages and can disable the phone’s screen to prevent users from distracted driving. The new feature will still allow drivers to access and use maps, though the phones may limit a driver’s ability to input new destinations. It appears that as of now, use of the feature will be optional, meaning that drivers can turn off the feature if they wish. However, given the sheer number of accidents and injuries that occur due to distracted driving, the hope is that the new feature will help prevent this dangerous practice.
Research has shown that it can be very difficult to resist the urge to check your phone when you receive a text message or notification. According to a study, 94 percent of Americans believe texting and driving should be illegal. Yet, nearly one third of Americans have texted or emailed while behind the wheel. Why do people still engage in these dangerous practices? According to the Boston Globe, checking our phones has become habitual and even compulsive for some. Getting a text from a crush or a loved one, or even a friend triggers reward centers in the brain. Resisting the urge to check your messages, even when you are behind the wheel and know you shouldn’t do so can be very difficult.
So, some companies are looking for ways to help drivers avoid the temptation in the first place. One car manufacturer is considering making their vehicles a Faraday cage that would prevent transmissions from reaching the phone.
Yet, as of today, people still have decisions to make. Do you put your phone on silent when driving? In the future, the decisions may be easier thanks to technology. We will have to wait and see whether people will use iPhone’s new feature. Until then, people are still being injured due to distracted driving every day. The Law Office of Martin T. Montilino is a personal injury lawyer in Minneapolis, Minnesota who understands the huge impact distracted driving can have on road users. Our firm works with families and victims of distracted driving to help them seek justice and raise awareness for the issue. If you’ve been hurt due to another person’s decision to text and drive, visit https://www.martinmontilino.com/ today to learn more about your rights.