West Virginia drivers who daydream while behind the wheel might be more dangerous than those who use cell phones while driving, according to a study by Erie Insurance. Despite the attention paid to the dangers of being distracted by smartphones, boredom and inattention may still cause more accidents.
Erie Insurance looked at 172,000 traffic deaths over five years and the reasons police determined the accidents happened. Around 10 percent of the deaths occurred because of distracted driving. Of those deaths, more than 60 percent involved people who were simply lost in thought. Using cell phones lagged far behind at just 14 percent.
Human error causes many motor vehicle accidents, and it is anticipated that autonomous vehicles will change that. Before vehicles are fully autonomous, however, it is likely there will be an increasing number of semi-autonomous vehicles on the road, and it may be difficult for these human drivers to pay attention as well. According to reports, Tesla Autopilot drivers are even more likely to let their attention wander. Some companies plan to address this issue with eye-tracking software to help ensure that the driver remains alert.
Whether a driver is distracted because of fatigue or some type of communication device, they are more likely to cause an accident. While the insurance company of the at-fault party is supposed to pay compensation, the agent might dispute the reason for the accident. Some injuries such as whiplash or traumatic brain injury may not result in immediate symptoms. Therefore, the insurance company may attempt to say they are not the result of the car accident. An attorney could help an injured victim fight for just compensation.