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Is New Car Technology Creating Dangerous Drivers?

Posted on January 25, 2012 to

William Lightfoot

Even though the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) says that distracted driving causes approximately 500,000 injuries every year, automakers are creating new ways occupy drivers’ attention behind the wheel. Ford unveiled its updated Sync system earlier this month at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show.

The hands-free system allows drivers to change radio stations with their voices and push a button to listen to a text message, among other features. A Ford spokesperson said that hands-free systems like Sync are safer ways to do things that drivers are going to do anyway. Nevertheless, safety experts question whether hands-free is any safer.

The USDOT cautions that using hands-free systems causes drivers to miss visual and audio cues much like hands-on use does. A person’s mind is only capable of focusing on a certain number of things at once, added the agency spokesperson. Regardless, the auto industry spokesperson said drivers are asking for the new technology and that automakers can provide it while maintaining safety standards.

The USDOT hopes to end texting and cell phone use behind the wheel and uses its website, distraction.gov, to keep people informed of its efforts. Have you suffered injuries in a car accident because someone was distracted by a hands-free device?

Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, L.L.P.

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