Technology Advances Still Not Enough to Curb Distracted Driving — But They Help

The past few years, several technologies have been created to help eliminate potential distractions from our smartphones. And according to a recent survey, drivers appear to like the idea. A recent initiative for Apple’s line of iPhones is designed to eliminate the still distracting — and dangerous — urge to look at these devices while driving. The “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature is built into Apple’s newest mobile operating system (iOS 11). If your phone is connected to a vehicle via hard cable or Bluetooth, and the vehicle is moving, the phone will withhold any notifications of text messages or news updates. If someone does text you while you’re driving, the phone can respond with an automatic message telling them you’re driving and are unable to immediately respond. Another “buffer” comes from Nissan. Known as the “Faraday Cage,” it’s available on all of its vehicles. The company claims this “virtual box” will block radio transmissions of any kind from reaching the phone. Several other similar initiatives by both automakers and technology companies are either in development or are being tested, all with the goal of greatly reducing or eliminating mobile device diversion of your attention from the road.

Drivers and the Law Respond to Tragic Distracted Driving Deaths and Injuries

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a 2015 survey found that over 3,400 people were killed by distracted drivers, or an average of more than nine deaths each day. In the face of such staggering numbers, the National Safety Council survey released a survey in 2016 of 2,400 drivers across the country. They were asked what they would do if their car or mobile device was installed with tech apps or systems that blocked some distracting outgoing and incoming messaging. A surprising 55 percent said they would not disable those technologies that insulate them from mobile device distractions, eclipsing by nearly two to one the 23 percent of drivers who say they would deactivate these protective systems. To combat the scourge of distracted driving, the Kentucky legislature passed its “Distracted Driving Laws” in 2010 and modified the law in 2013 to address – among other things – the issue of mobile device use.  It prohibits use of all mobile devices (handheld or hands-free) when a vehicle is in motion, leaving no doubt as to the seriousness of this issue. All drivers (auto, commercial vehicle, bus) are prohibited from texting while driving. The law states:
  • No driver may write, send or read a text-based communication (including text messages, instant messages and emails) while their vehicle is in motion.
  • No one under age 18 may drive a motor vehicle while using a personal communication device (including talking, texting or emailing on cell phones, smart phones or other PDAs) unless it is necessary to summon medical help or law enforcement in an emergency.
The following are the fines for those who violate this law. They are in addition to any jail time and demerit points to your driving record for other charges that may have accompanied the distracted driving violation.
Violation Fine
First offense: $25
Second offense: $50 plus court costs
If convicted, you also receive three points on your record. And all convictions on your record are used by your insurance company to increase your premiums. So, the safest option is to “unplug” and drive safely. No message is so important that it can’t wait a few minutes. If you’ve been injured by a distracted driver, you have legal options to explore. Contact the Johnson Law Firm today to learn more.

Attorney Billy Johnson

William “Billy” Johnson grew up in the Dorton area of Pike County, Kentucky, and early on decided to stay in the beautiful Appalachian mountains. Like many others in Eastern Kentucky, Billy’s dad worked as a coal miner, a hard job but one that taught his son how to meet challenges head on and persevere. Attorney Billy Johnson has years of experience helping injured clients with claims such as car, truck, and motorcycle accidents, wrongful deaths, work injuries, and more. [ Attorney Bio ]

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