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Are phone apps to blame for traffic deaths?

Car accidents happen for numerous reasons, but cellphones have only made things worse. Talking is a distraction, texting is a bigger distraction, and phones are always evolving. With every new app that drivers decide to use, the risk rises.

In fact, some have blamed apps for spikes in fatal crashes. They point to the fact that many apps seem designed for use in the car. For example, there are apps that display the speed the phone is traveling. Would drivers be tempted to speed so that they could record it and brag about how fast they were going?

The automotive industry is not ignorant to these problems. They have been working to find ways around them. For example, one industry expert pointed to systems that allow drivers to just connect their phones to their cars with wireless technology. They can then use the phones without touching them, instead using voice commands.

The goal is simple: If drivers won't stop using their phones, cars must be made to limit the distraction. If a driver can keep both hands on the wheel and his or her eyes on the road, all while using the device, it's theoretically safer than having the driver hold the phone in one hand and look down periodically.

Does that entirely eliminate the mental distraction? It doesn't. There is also no guarantee that drivers will use the hands-free systems, and not all apps allow it.

As such, other drivers need to be well aware of their rights. When struck and injured by distracted drivers, this could include the right to seek financial compensation.

Source: New York Times, "Biggest Spike in Traffic Deaths in 50 Years? Blame Apps," Neal E. Boudette, accessed June 02, 2017

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