05 Aug 2019

Are smarter cars making us dumber drivers?

Posted By Darrigo & Diaz

The great promise of smart cars is their ability to save lives by replacing human error with intelligent computers. But as cars get smarter and significantly safer, drivers are making dumber decisions. 


In a new study conducted by State Farm, drivers who use autonomous technology, such as adaptive cruise control or lane-keeping assistance, are twice as likely to engage in risky driving behaviors than those who don’t use the technology. The nationwide survey found that 42% of all drivers who use autonomous technology simultaneously text, use smartphone apps, and even watch movies.1  

Driving dumber with smarter technology

More than 90% of car accidents in the United States are caused by driver error.2 If driver errors could be eliminated, the country, in just two years, would save the lives of as many lost in the Vietnam War.3,4 Yet, studies show that as cars become smarter and safer, drivers are becoming over-reliant and over-confident in not only their abilities but the capabilities of their cars.  

Nearly all cars manufactured within the last three years are equipped with cameras, radars, and sensors that provide greater insight into speeds, distances, and weather conditions. These smart features are designed to enhance driver awareness. However, data shows that drivers using autonomous technology are frequently taking more risks when behind the wheel.

What dumb risks are drivers taking?

According to a survey of more than 1,000 licensed drivers nationwide1, drivers with adaptive cruise control or lane-keeping assistance features are more likely to use smartphones or drive distracted. For cars with this smart technology, the survey revealed that: 

  • 62% of drivers read and send text messages while using the technology
  • 56% of drivers use social media apps while using the technology
  • 39% use video chat while using the technology 

Distracted driving is a leading cause of car accidents and roadway fatalities. In 2017 alone, more than 3,000 people died as a result of this preventable behavior. In 2018, Florida reported more than 50,000 car accidents attributed to distracted driving—the highest number of distracted driving accidents ever reported by the state.5 

Cars are becoming smarter; drivers are becoming more distracted. 

Be smarter than your smart car

Although modern cars are equipped with a variety of safety features that help us stay in lanes, pass safely, and put on the brakes, there is no substitute for the driver’s responsibility to operate the vehicle in a safe manner.  

When behind the wheel of a car with smart technology—or any car for that matter—keep these reminders in the back of your mind.

  • Do not read or send text messages
  • Do not take selfies, photos, or videos
  • Do not enter GPS or Google Map destinations while moving
  • Do not go on social media
  • Do not search for information on the internet
  • Do not check or send emails

All smart cars have wireless phone and audio capabilities that eliminate the need to hold or use phones while driving. Spend a few minutes programming your smart car’s onboard computer (while you are parked!) and take advantage of voice commands, auto-dialing, and push-button features. 

If you don’t have this technology, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends driving with your phone out of arms reach to resist the urge to text or scroll. The NHTSA also suggests having a passenger program destinations into the GPS or text and respond to messages on your behalf. 

Distracted driving is 100% preventable. Don’t let smart technology replace your judgment. 

Are you a victim of distracted driving in Tampa? 

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in an accident caused by distracted driving, including texting or recording videos while driving, contact Darrigo & Diaz. As one of the oldest law firms in Tampa, Darrigo & Diaz has represented thousands of personal injury accident victims and their families. 

Led by Board Certified Civil Trial Expert Nadine Diaz, our firm is a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum®. We handle every component of your case, from obtaining police reports to handling insurance adjusters, and we provide competent, resourceful, and aggressive legal representation. 

If you are the victim of an accident caused by distracted driving, contact our firm today to learn about your options and how we can help. Call us at (813) 774-3341 to schedule a free case evaluation with our highly-experienced, highly-praised team.  

Categories: Car Accidents
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