Michigan has always been at the forefront of vehicle manufacturing. Now, new safety features and automated technologies offer Michiganders more choices than ever for staying safe on the road.
After any accident, an experienced Michigan car accident attorney will thoroughly investigate all potential causes of injuries to ensure that negligent drivers and auto manufacturers are held responsible for their conduct.
Cases against other motorists may be rooted in theories of general negligence, but cases against auto manufacturers are a bit more complicated, and follow theories of product liability. Any company or individual in the chain of distribution of an unsafe or defective product could potentially be held liable for injuries resulting from foreseeable use of that product.
Lane Departure Warning Systems
An increasingly-popular and prevalent feature offered in new vehicles, lane departure warning systems use a series of sensors to provide dashboard warnings when a driver begins to drift from his or her established lane. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently published a study which found that lane departure systems decreased the risk of single vehicle, sideswipe, and head-on collisions by eleven percent. Injury rates in these collisions was reduced by twenty-one percent with the presence of lane departure technology. Like many other new safety features, however, lane departure technologies are so new that there is not yet enough research to accurately determine their efficacy.
Jalopnik even reports on one study that found crashes to increase in vehicles with lane departure warning systems. Until there is a more extensive body of data, consumers are advised to carefully research and identify safety features which are best suited to their personal driving habits.
Automated Safety Features For Your Smartphone
In recent years, distracted driving has become one of the most common factors in auto accident fatalities. Mobile phone manufacturers are attempting to address this problem by improving and enhancing “do not disturb” features on smartphones. As usual, Apple has been at the head of this trend. Business Insider reports that the iOS 11 operating system for iPhone – due for release in late 2017 – will include a comprehensive “do not disturb while driving” function. This function will automatically detect when a user is driving and engage itself. The user receives no notifications and cannot access the home screen until he or she stops driving. The user can override this setting by following a series of prompts. While this override feature is necessary in the event that a user is the passenger (not driver) of a vehicle, it leaves open the concerning possibility that users can override the feature and use a fully accessible smartphone while driving.
Do Not Disturb features raise a broader discussion into the issue of distracted driving. Distracted driving is responsible for thousands of deaths and injuries every year. In fact, Apple’s move to introduce the comprehensive function for iOS 11 comes after it was sued for failing to include such features in earlier versions. According to the Guardian, Bethany and James Modisette sued Apple for the wrongful death of their five-year-old daughter, who was killed in a car accident by a driver using FaceTime while driving. The Modisettes alleged that Apple held patents on technology to lock out iPhone functions while driving, but had failed to implement them in their products, thus contributing to their daughter’s death.
While the improvement and expansion of Do Not Disturb features can certainly help target the problem, it falls to each individual driver to accept personal responsibility for implementing safe driving habits. No technology can completely eradicate the dangers of distracted driving. No Do Not Disturb feature can be forcefully implemented in every driving situation. Only a personal commitment to avoiding distractions can prevent a driver from becoming distracted. Passengers should speak up when they notice their driver is becoming distracted. Parents should implement and enforce specific guidelines for their teen drivers, whose inexperience makes distracted driving particularly dangerous for them.