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Technology may be increasing the risk of distracted driving

The risks posed by a distracted driver who is talking on a cellphone or texting and driving have resulted in the passage of laws to restrict the practices in New York and other states. Talking on a cellphone when driving a vehicle is limited to the use of a hands-free device in some states while texting and driving is widely prohibited.

Questions are now being raised about the new technology auto manufacturers are making available to purchasers of new vehicles. Hands-free cellphone technology that allows drivers to make and receive calls through an onboard system competes with GPS systems and other technology for the attention of drivers who are supposed to be focused on the road. Asking the brain to multitask might be contributing to the risk of a car collision caused by the negligence of a distracted driver.

A driver engaged in a heated conversation on a cellphone might be distracted from focusing on the task of driving regardless of whether a hands-free device is in use. The thinking is that the conversation might be as much of a distraction as holding a cellphone. Some companies and municipalities have banned their employees from using cellphones with or without hands-free devices while driving.

The medical expenses and other losses people suffering a serious injury in an auto accident might incur could entitle them to receive compensation from the driver who caused the collision. Although distraction is not as easy to prove as impairment, an attorney for an injured victim can often establish it through a review of the motorist's cellphone records.

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