Abels & Annes

Chicago Car Accidents Caused by In-Car Technology, NHTSA Warns

There’s no need to go to the video arcade any more. Drivers can sit in their car and get pretty much the same experience with the plethora of gadgets, lights, sounds and video-game-like features. What we’re talking about are all the advancements of in-car technology. While most of these devices were designed to help ease the dangers of driving, experts are saying that in-car technologies are taking way too much driver attention off of our roadways and are actually making our roadways more dangerous for everyone.
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Now, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is asking car makers to chill out with the in-car electronics to reduce driver distractions and to reduce the risks of car accidents in Illinois and elsewhere, according to the Chicago Tribune. The NHTSA is asking that all of these devices in SUVs and passenger vehicles be disabled while the car is in drive. Emergency warning systems would be exempt in the new proposal.

Our Chicago auto accident attorneys have these devices in our cars, too. Just like you, we have GPS devices and other technologies that are meant to simplify driving. Unfortunately drivers are easing up a little bit too much behind the wheel, and taking too much of their focus and attention off the road. It’s still just as important as ever to keep our full attention on the roadway and our surroundings. Driver awareness is still the number one defense against a car accident.

Under the NHTSA’s proposal, they’re asking car makers to voluntarily follow their new guidelines. These new guidelines ask carmakers to stop these devices from being used when the car is in drive. The point of this proposal is to get driver’s eyes off of these distractions and back onto the road. Drivers would still be allowed to operate in-car devices when the car is stopped and in park.

“The guidelines we’re proposing would offer real-world guidance to automakers to help them develop electronic devices that provide features consumers want without disrupting a driver’s attention or sacrificing safety,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.

The auto industry has been following its own guidelines for in-car technologies since 2002. The NHTSA is hoping to strengthen the current guidelines.

Gloria Bergquist with the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said that it’s not uncommon to see drivers have conversations, listen to music and look at road maps when they’re behind the wheel. The newer in-car technology helps drivers to do this in a hands-free way that allows drivers to keep their focus on the road.

Strickland agrees, saying that drivers are going to do this stuff anyway. You might as well find a way to do it as safely as possible.

If you or someone who is close to you has been injured or killed in a car accident in Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois, the personal injury lawyers and wrongful death attorneys at Abels & Annes offer free and confidential appointments to discuss the rights of accident victims. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.

Additional Resources:

Curb the car dashboard technology, government asks, by Joan Lowy, Chicago Tribune
More Blog Entries:

Risk of Chicago Pedestrian Accidents Caused by Quiet Cars, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, February 12, 2012

Chicago Car Accident Watch:Illinois Handheld Cell Phone Ban on Horizon, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, February 16, 2012