Everyday life has been increasingly dependent on technology; almost every daily task has been made easier and more efficient with the rise of intelligent and user-friendly devices. But some daily activities, such as driving a car, are often disrupted by the distraction of being connected and online. If a driver’s focus is glued to the screen of a phone instead of the task at hand, it could ultimately cause a car accident, resulting in personal injury to the drivers and those around them.
Smartphones and Smartwatches
When one thinks of the common driving distractions, phone use immediately comes to mind. There are countless apps on a smartphone device that can easily distract someone for more than a few seconds. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a single text message will take a driver’s eyes off the road for a mere five seconds, the same amount of time a car traveling 55 mph will take to travel 100 yards.
But it is not just a smartphone that can cause a distraction. Designed to provide even more accessibility, smartwatches are now quite popular. Experts estimate that there will be over 70 million people wearing some form of wearable smart tech in the United States by 2022, with smartwatches being over 70 percent of those worn. They are less expensive, can be used anywhere and, at times, easier to use than a smartphone with almost the same features.
What makes the smartwatch so attractive is its ability to perform what the user requests through voice activation. Although studies have shown that using the voice feature in smart technology is safer than reading text while driving, it is a distraction, nonetheless. Similar studies reveal that any conversation a driver has, whether through text messaging or phone call, still increases their reaction time, lowers their ability to focus, and inhibits their decision-making in emergency situations.
New York Distracted Driving Laws
Traffic laws across the United States are getting stricter regarding distracted driving-related offenses. This is appropriate, as distracted driving is among the leading causes of car accidents, especially in New York. In fact, most states rank distracted driving among their top three in leading accident causes. In recent years, New York City has ranked distracted driving as the number one cause of car accidents, at almost one third of all reported accidents. Nationally, over 3,100 people have been killed by a distracted driver in 2019 alone.
Texting or talking to someone by phone is one of the most dangerous actions to perform while driving, but they are not the only form of distractions. Other common distractions include the following:
- Navigation and GPS use
- Video games
- Social media use
- Internet browsing
- Scrolling for music or podcasts
- Eating or drinking
- Reading posts or an eBook
- Talking or attending to passengers in the vehicle
- Personal grooming or applying make-up
- Taking pictures or recording video
Smartwatch use can involve all three forms of distractions: cognitive, visual, and manual. Not only does looking at a smartwatch cause a visual distraction, but also it causes a manual distraction by removing a driver’s hand off the wheel when they use it.
New York’s distracted driving laws forbid the use of smartphones and other electronic devices while driving. A driver cannot talk on the phone while holding it, send messages or emails, use the camera, or play games. Violating New York’s distracted driving law for the first time carries a maximum $200 penalty; the third offense can reach upwards of $450, as well as points on the driver’s record.
Brooklyn Car Accident Lawyers at Eaton & Torrenzano Help Victims of Distracted Drivers Recover from Their Injuries
It cannot be understated that any form of distraction, whether it is a smartwatch or other mobile device, is dangerous to everyone who gets behind the wheel. Distracted driving has led to countless injuries and deaths across the United States, and it is only getting worse. If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted or negligent driver, contact the Brooklyn car accident lawyers at Eaton & Torrenzano. Our experienced and knowledgeable lawyers will help build your case and get the compensation you rightfully deserve. Call us today at 718-332-7766 or contact us online for a free consultation. With offices in Brooklyn and Staten Island, New York, and Hillsborough, New Jersey, we serve clients in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, the Bronx, and Manhattan, Kings County, and Richmond County.