Snapchat and other apps are distracting on Florida roadways.
As most any driver on Florida’s roadways can tell you, technology is becoming an increasing impediment to motorist safety. Even as today’s cars come equipped with modern safety equipment like rear view cameras and more sophisticated braking technology than cars thirty years ago, technology in the form of mobile phones is also contributing an increase in the rates of motor vehicle accidents as well as traffic fatalities. However, the positive impact some of these additional safety features are having on motorists’ chances of becoming involved in an accident, whether in Florida or elsewhere in the country, is being seriously undermined by the increasing prevalence of the use of mobile apps that enable motorists to take their attention off the road for seconds at a time, often while the motorist is traveling on a highway at a high rate of speed. This behavior can have devastating consequences for other motorists, as even one second while a driver is not paying attention can spell disaster for other motorists, particularly at high speeds.
The Pervasive Use of Apps by Drivers is Making Motorists Drive Less Safely
The typical conversation regarding technological advances has centered around mobile phones and their increasing use by motorists while driving to talk or text. Nevertheless, this is becoming less of a concern than the use of mobile apps to many highway safety advocates. Despite hands-free technology that allegedly is supposed to make it easier to drive while still allowing a driver to be able to access the Internet, all of the positive impacts this technology could be having is going out the window due to the increasing use of distracting mobile phone apps by motorists on Florida and the nation’s roadways. As reflected in a recent article by the New York Times on this issue, after declining steadily over the past 40 years, highway fatalities nationwide in 2015 recorded the largest annual increase in 50 years. The numbers in 2016 have been even worse, with a 10.4% increase in traffic fatalities compared to even the terrible numbers from 2015. In the first six months of 2016, 17,775 people perished in accidents on the nation’s roadways, according to statistics from the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Increased Use of Mobile Phone Apps in Cars is Causing Increasing Problems with Driver Inattention, Resulting in Increased Fatalities on the Nation’s Roadways
Despite the advent of increased safety features on many new models, it is the behavior of drivers that is largely driving a nationwide increase in motor vehicle accidents as well as traffic fatalities. As the New York Times article notes, in several instances motorists operating their vehicles at speeds in excess of 100 mph have recorded themselves on mobile apps like Snapchat. This trend has even touched the state of Florida and nearby Georgia. The article mentions an accident which occurred in late October near Tampa and resulted in five fatalities. In that accident, a teenage driver who was involved in the accident recorded a video of her operating her vehicle at over 115 mph on the mobile app Snapchat shortly before the accident occurred. In a similar incident, a teenage driver in Georgia was involved in a crash while using Snapchat and driving more than 100 mph, seriously injuring another motorist.
Although federal regulators, including Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, have promised that regulators are working on potential approaches to the issue of increasingly distracted drivers, this misses the point. There is only so much that regulators, and regulation itself, can do. Ultimately, if someone chooses to pick up their phone and record a video on Snapchat at 115 mph, no amount of regulation can prevent the potentially catastrophic consequences of that action. Increased regulation could perhaps lessen a motorist’s motivation to do so, but ultimately it is the driver who has to make the decision whether or not to pick up his or her mobile phone and utilize an app or not.
Contact Our Firm If You Have Been Injured in an Accident Caused by Someone’s Negligence
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Florida caused by someone else’s negligence in using their mobile phone or Internet technology inappropriately while operating their motor vehicle, please contact us for a free consultation regarding your situation and legal options. Our firm has decades of experience representing victims of automobile accidents and we will use every legal tool at our disposal to ensure that you recover the maximum measure of damages for any injuries and financial losses you have suffered in a motor vehicle accident caused by someone else’s negligence.
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