There were 3,328 fatalities caused by distracted driving in 2012 and an additional 421,000 injuries in collisions with distracted drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is trying to bring those numbers down with its first ever national advertising and enforcement campaign.
Unfortunately, despite widespread bans on texting by drivers in 43 states, more and more motorists continue to text behind the wheel. In fact, USA Today reports that the number of drivers manipulating handled devices increased from .9 percent of drivers in 2010 to 1.3 percent of drivers in 2011. Now, 1/3 of American adults say they’d rather text than talk on a phone, and an average American sends 41 texts each day. Ad campaigns and laws clearly aren’t doing enough to change motorist behavior and those who are hurt need to get help from a Distracted driving accident lawyer in Louisville in the wake of an auto accident.
Could New Technology Solve the Distracted Driving Problem?
Texting is not the only distracting thing drivers do. They also manipulate in car controls and enter data into GPS devices. These behaviors are only likely to increase as well, since car manufacturers are rapidly adding touch-screens and other in-car electronic devices. To try to reduce the risk that comes with these devices, the Washington Post reports that research is being done into a new typeface.
A company called Monotype and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) AgeLab are working together to understand whether a change to typefaces on in-car media could make a difference. AgeLab is interested in this question because aging demographics in America mean that more drivers will be coping with diminished eyesight.
The early results of new type face tests have been promising. A simulation was performed where drivers were asked to look at text on a small navigation screen. Two different typefaces were used: one in the humanist genre and one in the grotesque type. When a driver looked at a screen with the humanist typeface, the driver looked away from the road for a much shorter time. The difference was long enough for the driver to travel 50 feet additional at highway speeds when looking at the grotesque typeface.
Monotype has now released a humanist typeface, Burlingame, this week and some car manufacturers are already considering incorporating it. Hopefully if this new font is used on more in-car equipment, the roads will become safer.
The reality, though, is that if a driver does look away from the road or use electronic devices in his car, it is still dangerous. Prior technologies like hands-free devices were supposed to make cell phone use safer and this technological solution was not a good answer to the problem of distracted driving. In fact, as the National Safety Council (NSC) indicates, hands-free is not actually safer although many drivers believe that myth. A driver on a hands-free phone may still see as much as 50 percent less outside of his windshield and the activity in the area of the brain that processes images could be reduced by 1/3.
The easier-to-read type, therefore, should not lull drivers into the sense that they are OK to look at the GPS or other device. The best place for their eyes and their focus is still on the road in front of them.
If you or a loved one was injured, car accident lawyers in Louisville can help. Call Shelton Law Group today at 888-761-7204 for a free case consultation.