Distracted driving, where drivers do not pay enough attention to the driving task, continues to be a deadly problem on roadways across the country. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that distracted driving caused 3,142 deaths in 2019. Regrettably, thousands of others also suffered some kind of injury because of distracted drivers.
In the last few years, many automakers around the globe have announced plans to introduce self-driving cars. These vehicles either drive themselves or assist motorists with driving activities, such as changing lanes or parking. While self-driving vehicles may simplify driving, they may also cut down on the number of distracted driving accidents.
More room for error
Nowadays, many drivers simply cannot resist the urge to use a smartphone or engage in other distracted behaviors behind the wheel. The computers and sensors on self-driving cars may alert distracted drivers to potential hazards by sounding an alarm. Alternatively, these vehicles may slow themselves or maneuver away from possible collisions. Either way, self-driving cars probably give distracted drivers a bit more room for error.
Integrated communications systems
Self-driving cars are some of the more technologically advanced vehicles on the road, with features likely to improve during the coming years. Because of smart computers, drivers may be able to link their electronic devices directly to their vehicles. Rather than talking or messaging through a handheld device, drivers may use onboard communications systems. If so, distracted driving naturally may become both less common and less dangerous.
Ultimately, whether drivers own self-driving vehicles or conventional ones, they have a responsibility to avoid distracted driving. Until the risk is gone, all motorists must take steps to maintain mental, visual, auditory and manual focus whenever they drive.