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Will New Distraction Guidelines Help Deter San Diego Crashes?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released proposed guidelines aimed to reduce distracted driving caused by mobile and other electronic devices in vehicles. As San Diego injury lawyers, we are hopeful that the new guidelines will help reduce the number of distraction-related crashes.

As we have previously discussed on this San Diego Injury Blog, distracted driving crashes are increasingly common, despite numerous public safety campaigns highlighting the risks of distraction. In 2015, 10 percent of all traffic fatalities involved one or more distracted drivers. In total, distraction-related crashes resulted in 3,477 fatalities, which represented an 8.8 percent increase from the 3,197 fatalities in 2014.

Cell phones are often involved in distracted driving crashes. In 2014, there were 385 fatal crashes that involved the use of a cell phone, resulting in 404 fatalities. Accordingly, NHTSA’s proposed guidelines target the devices we use while driving and attempt to make them safer. They are intended to encourage portable and aftermarket electronic device developers to design products that, when used while driving, reduce the potential for driver distraction.

For instance, the voluntary guidelines encourage manufacturers to implement features such as pairing, where a portable device is linked to a vehicle’s infotainment system, as well as Driver Mode, which is a simplified user interface. According to NHTSA, the features lower the risk of distraction by reducing the time a driver’s eyes are off the road, while also maintaining the full functionality of the devices for other purposes.

"NHTSA has long encouraged drivers to put down their phones and other devices, and just drive," NHTSA Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind said in a press statement. "With driver distraction one of the factors behind the rise of traffic fatalities, we are committed to working with the industry to ensure that mobile devices are designed to keep drivers’ eyes where they belong — on the road."

If you or someone you care about has suffered serious injury in a car accident, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation. After a serious California crash, we can advocate on your behalf to help hold the negligent parties accountable for their actions and seek the compensation you deserve.