Can crash collision systems stop distracted drivers?

No matter how many precautions you take behind the wheel or how closely you adhere to the speed limit, you cannot avoid encountering distracted drivers. This is a scary thought for anyone who must share the road. After all, you have probably noticed other drivers so engrossed in conversations with passengers that they failed to notice what was happening around them.

To combat the growing number of distracted drivers, many car manufacturers now include collision warning systems in new vehicles. These systems should protect you from drivers who are more concerned with their phone or the radio than focusing on the task at hand, but they may not be as effective as previously thought.

What are common distractions?

Virtually anything can distract a driver behind the wheel. From conversations with passengers to the sudden alert from your smart phone, distractions are everywhere. Unfortunately, they are also hard to ignore.

If distractions were rare they might be easier to ignore. However, as they occur with such frequency, drivers often struggle to put down the phone, leave the radio alone and keep their eyes where they belong -- on the road. Sure, you might not have a problem with keeping your mind in the game, but others might need more help.

Warning systems -- do they work?

Crash collision warning systems alert drivers to potential collisions. Usually in the form of a beep, the warning may sound when a car in front of you suddenly stops or when you are close to backing into another vehicle. Manufacturers believe that, if a driver engages in a distracting behavior, the beep will draw his or her attention back to the road. After multiple warnings, the driver should engage in distracted behavior less often.

A study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reviewed past studies that looked at the effectiveness of this technology. It found that the warning system did not encourage drivers to partake in secondary behaviors -- such as eating, talking or texting -- any less frequently. The study also found that the warning system did not lull them into complacency. In short, the systems had zero effect on driver behavior.

A small win for technology

While these systems do not influence drivers to reduce their distracted driving habits, they are effective at preventing accidents at least some of the time. However, this is because the alert system forces drivers to refocus their attention on the road, even if only long enough to avoid a collision.

Distracted drivers are everywhere in South Carolina, and unfortunately, there is no way to avoid them. Accidents caused by this type of behavior can have devastating implications for victims, who often struggle to deal with the financial consequences of recovery. If a distracted or otherwise negligent driver caused your or a loved one's injuries, compensation through a personal injury suit may be essential for your long-term health and financial security.

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