Technology continues to fight unsafe driver behavior

Distracted driving is something that people in West Virginia and across the country often hear about. Though it's usually associated with cell phone use, new car technologies -- from GPS systems to video players -- are also creating dashboard distractions. However, technology could also offer some solutions to the problem of distracted driving. Consumer Reports investigated some new safety applications that are aimed at preventing distracted driving and making everyone safer on the road.

A survey conducted by Consumer Reports found that 52 percent of drivers who own a smartphone have used it while driving. Activities they use their phone for go beyond texting and phone calls. The survey found that people listen to music, watch videos and browse the web while driving too.

There are many apps for both Apple and Android phones that allow users to set up automatic replies to texts and calls, but these apps have to be turned on by the user before they get in their car. Apple took this idea a step further in 2017 by adding the "Do Not Disturb While Driving" feature to the iPhone's operating system. When activated, this feature detects car movement and automatically shuts off alerts for incoming calls or texts.

In addition to smartphones, infotainment systems in some newer car models are a distraction danger. Though car technology is also making cars safer in general, with such innovations as automatic braking and collision warning systems, driver distraction is still a problem that is largely up to drivers themselves to control.

Technology is also working to make the task of determining what causes car accidents easier. Newer cars contain event recorders, similar to black boxes in airplanes, which crash investigators can use to discover the car's speed and other information at the time of the crash. The findings of a crash investigation are an important part of any personal injury suit that is filed after someone is hurt in an accident.

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