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Distractions and hands-free advances

Issues such as texting and driving have resulted in a major movement to minimize the use of smartphones while on the roads in West Virginia and across the nation. However, some of the technologies that have been developed to facilitate safer communications on the road do not necessarily eliminate distractions. The fact that these technologies have been incorporated into the dashboards of many vehicles causes numerous drivers to believe that their use is safe. However, these technologies are targeted more at the convenience of the driver than at safety.

Texting and driving is dangerous because it involves a motorist's eyes, hands and brain being focused away from the road. However, hands-free communication still requires an individual to split their attention between the communication and the road, which can diminish safety for that driver, passengers and other motorists. The efforts of states to limit distractions by banning hand-held cellphone activity may reduce the number of accidents caused by negligent drivers, but even greater advances might be achieved with the prohibition of all cellphone activity while driving.

While a cellphone ban might reduce potential driving distractions, there are numerous additional situations that can distract drivers and result in car accidents. For example, radios and CD players can create distractions as a driver makes a change or focuses on the music that is playing. A crying child in the back seat of a vehicle can also create a serious distraction as a parent drives. It may be impossible to eliminate all possible sources of distraction.

An accident resulting from negligent activity such as text messaging could result in serious injuries for motorists, passengers or pedestrians. A driver could face legal penalties for such activity and could be liable for compensation if an injured party decides to file a personal injury lawsuit.

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