Since 2014, traffic fatalities have increased year on year in numbers not seen since the middle of last century. Despite our best efforts at education, legislation and enforcement, more people are dying, not fewer. A new study from Zendrive estimates that drivers are using cell phones on around 88% of all trips, though the authors admit that those numbers are likely an underestimation if anything. The good news is that anti-distracted driving laws do seem to help; however, the cause of all this distracted driving is a failure in understanding.
Human nature vs. up-and-coming tech
Right now, Tennessee (and most other states) are trying to legislate the problem away. They increase fines and penalties, pass more specific laws, and do whatever they can to show that they’re working on the distracted driving problem.
But the truth is, all that showing isn’t working as much as we hoped. Drivers “know” that distracted driving is dangerous, and that it can kill you, but they don’t always understand what “distracted” means in a real-world kind of way. And they don’t necessarily believe that their own phone use contributes to the problem.
At the moment, our entire ecosystem of technology is on the verge of offering a truly seamless and beneficial user experience. Alas, that reality seems to always lurk just over the horizon. We have phones that automatically connect to our cars or headsets (except when they don’t), fitness trackers that sync real-time information and vital statistics to health and emergency medical apps on your phone (except when they don’t), and onboard vehicle computers that interpret voice commands to allow you to keep your eyes on the road (except when they don’t). All of these engineering marvels are good ideas whose time hasn’t quite come.
The problem is so big…
The net result of all of this “almost” technology is in fact far more distracting than not having it at all. More than 40,000 Americans died in traffic accidents in 2016, a number that falls shy of the top 10 leading causes of death in the nation by a mere 2,000 victims. We have to be aware of dangerous distractions, but we also have to be aware that other drivers’ behavior could be a danger to us.
Distracted driving accidents affect victims and their families every day. The experienced Nashville distracted driving attorneys at the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm can evaluate your case and help get you the compensation you deserve. Please call 615.246.5549, visit our offices in Nashville, Hendersonville or Knoxville, or contact us today for a free consultation.