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Study: Drivers shouldn’t assume built-in devices are safe

A recent study, which was summarized in at least one major media report, has confirmed what many residents of Reno, Nevada, probably already know, which is that distracted driving is a significant hazard for motorists.

The study was conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. According to the results, distracted driving contributes to 390,000 crashes in the United States annually. It is also blamed for 3,500 traffic deaths each year.

One interesting finding of the study was that devices built in to cars for communicating and navigating are not necessarily safe. This may run contrary to intuition, as one is quite prone to assume that if a car is designed with navigation aid or the ability to make calls from the car, then the technology is not going to be distracting.

This is not necessarily the case, however. In fact, the study found that several aftermarket devices can accomplish the same tasks more efficiently, meaning a driver can get his or her eyes back on the road 5 seconds faster after making a phone call. With respect to navigating, some aftermarket devices can get a driver’s eyes back to the road 15 seconds faster.

The bottom line, though, is that distracted driving is wrong, even if the distraction came from within the vehicle itself. Whether it is fiddling with the radio or trying to use more recent technology, a driver simply must give priority to controlling his or vehicle and should not engage in these tasks if it takes the focus off driving.

When a driver chooses to do otherwise and causes a car accident, the victim may be able to file a personal injury case against the driver.

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