In-car distractions an increasing cause of Chicago car accidents

When it comes to Chicago car accidents caused by distracted driving, there are many causes. But with each new model year, the number of distractions built right into your automobile is of increasing concern.

As we reported recently on our Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, some safety advocates are urging the government to focus on something other than cell phones when it comes to driver distraction and motorist safety.Some of the cases handled by our Chicago personal injury lawyers and wrongful death attorneys involve some form of driver distraction. Common distractions include eating, drinking, talking to passengers, smoking, applying makeup and, of course, using a cell phone.

But, as the USAToday reports, technology is playing an increasing role when it comes to distractions built right into your vehicle: Dashboard navigation systems, touch-screen climate control, GPS, satellite radio with 100s of channels, and even DVD systems built into headrests.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expected to issue its first set of guidelines on the issue later this year. Meanwhile, there is no set standard. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which includes most major car makers except Honda, has its own procedures to reduce distraction caused by “information and communication systems.” Meanwhile, the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers reports that its members make their own decisions.

Recently, Consumer Reports found the new touch-screen computer in many Ford models (which controls the radio, temperature and navigation) is so complicated and potentially distracting that it dropped cars equipped with the system from its recommendation list.

Meanwhile, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood took General Motors to task last year when its OnStar communications system began allowing people to verbally update their Facebook or Twitter status while driving.

When it comes to in-car technology, it’s a brave new world. Regardless of new features, regulations by the government, or voluntary moves on the part of automobile manufacturers, motorists are best served by using common sense. Focus on driving, your life or the life of someone else could very well depend on it.

If you or a family member is involved in a car accident in the Chicago area, contact Abels & Annes for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.

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