INCREASE IN HIGHWAY DEATHS CAUSED BY USE OF APPS

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New applications (“apps”) are being created every day in an attempt to make American lives more productive and entertaining.  The problem is such apps are being used by motorists while driving their vehicles and trucks on the highways and roads of Georgia and the nation.  Over 10 years ago, we all figured out that there was an increase in distracted drivers due to use of the cell phone and text usage.  We tried to curb that issue by developing new technology such as Bluetooth and voice recognition. In addition, the U.S. Department of Transportation created a program to stop texting and cell phone usage while operating a car that can be viewed here. Fast forward to the here and now, we see that new technology is once again making the roads and highways unsafe for safe drivers.

Some of the suspected apps that have contributed to car and truck crashes include the following:  1) a messaging app called Snapchat that allows motorists to post photographs  that record the speed of the vehicle; 2) a navigation app called Waze that gives motorists points with each and every report they make of traffic collisions and jams; and 3) an entertainment app called Pokemon Go that lets motorists hunt for Pokemon creatures while driving.

Experts have confirmed that new technology (such as WiFi) and new apps have directly caused highway deaths to spike despite past declines over the past 40 years.   In fact, the recorded fatalities last year had the largest percentage increase in over 50 years!  In 2016, highway fatalities have increased over 10% to 17,775 as compared to 2015.   These statistics and reports have been compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Some examples of distracted driving that led to serious injuries or death include: 1) a teenage driver in Georgia that was using Snapchat while driving more than 100 mph and hit an Uber driver in 2015; and 2) a snapchat video taken by a teenage passenger that recorded her vehicle traveling at 115 m.p.h. just prior to a crash that killed five people in Florida.

In response to the increase in deaths related to apps, the Department of Transportation created a plan to eliminate roadway fatalities within 30 years.  The Obama administration has propounded regulations to increase seatbelts in cars and helmets for all motorcycle drivers. Another goal is to develop technology for cars that automatically drive without human assistance.   It should also be noted that many new cars are being outfitted with software that connects with smartphones to make calls, dictate texts and utilize apps hands free.  However, it is not clear yet from studies that such technology actually reduces distractions or encourages drivers to use more apps while driving than ever before.

Auto insurance companies maintain that the widely use of devices while operating a car is the largest cause of the rise in fatalities.  As posted in my blog here, it is always recommended to my clients to not drive and use apps at the same time and to try to be the safest driver on the road and to always keep on the lookout for distracted drivers that operate vehicles in an unsafe manner.

If you are injured as the result of the negligence of a motorist that is texting, tweeting, checking emails or otherwise using his/her cell phone or apps while operating a vehicle, it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney immediately to investigate and gather evidence for your claim.

The Law Offices of Kevin C. Ford have over twenty years of experience in handling the claims of Georgia accident victims caused by the negligence of motorists on cell phones, and if you or your loved ones have been the victims of such an accident in Georgia, we can help you, too. Contact us today, to speak to an attorney right away. As always, the consultation is free, and there is no obligation. Call us at 404-869-6969, or use the online form. We are available to answer all your questions.