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Distracted driving: not just a problem of cellphones

Anyone with a driver's license in New City should realize that texting behind the wheel is against the law. Of course, there is a reason for this, as texting while driving is incredibly dangerous. Like driving while intoxicated, driving while distracted can cause serious injuries or death. Moreover, just like driving while intoxicated, it should be relatively easy to avoid -- drivers can avoid putting themselves in situations where they need to text and drive. That being said, texting is not the only distraction that can cause an accident.

Car manufacturers are increasingly using infotainment (combination information and entertrainment) technologies in vehicles. From navigation systems to music players to systems that can read text messages to drivers, there are a number of buttons, touch screens and knobs that need to be dealt with in today's cars. Moreover, even though there is a rabid fight against texting while driving, a number of these information systems require the driver to read information.

One car will have a 17-inch touch screen in the console, a screen that is bigger than some laptop computers. If that is not distracting, what is?

But the responses to distracting car technology and text messages are different. For texting, it is to make the practice illegal and a primary offense in the state of New York. For technology, it is to study whether a more legible type will require the driver to spend less time looking at the device.

Distracted driving of any kind is dangerous, but very few types of it are considered illegal. Regardless of what a driver is doing behind the wheel, if he or she causes an accident because he or she is distracted, that driver could be held liable for the crash.

Source: The Washington Post, “A remarkably small idea that could reduce distracted driving,” Emily Badger, April 7, 2014

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