Are High-tech Dashboards Safer For Drivers?

There has been a lot made about improving safety in automobiles over the last 60 years. From seat belts to air bags to side-curtain airbags to crumple zones to rear-view cameras, there have been many advancements in car design to improve safety and reduce car accidents and accident severity.

There has always been a push to make driving safer by developing software that allows drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel while adjusting the radio, the temperature or setting cruise control. With buttons on the steering wheel or various voice controls, on the one hand, drivers have been able to maintain more physical control of their vehicles.

50% of Driving is 90% Mental

While there is a lot of advancement so drivers keep their hands on the wheel, much of effective driving is a mental process, including processing visual cues in observing traffic, weather and the presence of pedestrians. Distracted driving can occur even if a driver has both hands physically on the wheel. Having a mind distracted can have just as much an effect on accidents as removing hands from the wheel.

Eyes that move from the road to a high-tech dashboard, for example, in order to access certain buttons or actions for the vehicle can still lead to accidents, and they have. Studies recently have found that several automakers have created high-tech dashboards that are the most distracting to drivers, and thus are the ones that might actually put drivers more at risk for accidents.

A Focused Mind and Body

One of the recent studies, conducted by researchers at the University of Utah, has found that the more “infotainment” is placed in easy reach of a driver, the higher the risk for that driver to be distracted. A driver’s hands may be on the steering wheel, but he or she may be accessing GPS, a hands-free phone device, the radio, the heating/cooling or some other aspect of driver comfort, instead of keeping the mind on the road. With so many possible distractions, it is easy for a driver to lose focus and get in an accident even with both hands firmly on the wheel.

Block Out the Noise

The hope is that this research will eventually lead automakers to scale back their high-tech dashboards and simplify a driver’s experience. A driver needs to have both hands on the wheel and mindfully engaged with the road and traffic to ensure safety. These studies are hopefully revealing that automakers may be working too hard on the physical and further taxing the mental part of driving. Find out more about the effects of distracted driving when you contact one of our Memphis personal-injury attorneys to discuss the circumstances surrounding your recent auto accident. It is time to know that hands-free does not mean mind-free.

Defective Airbag: Who Is At Fault?

If you are looking for a clue, look no further than what is going on in the auto industry these days.

We have a reasonable expectation that the airbags in our cars will work properly when deployed in an auto accident, and for the most part they have over the last couple of decades. However, a major crisis of safety has come to the fore that has forced many automakers to recall their vehicles at a hefty price tag – in the billions (with a “b”) of dollars in repairs.

The Takata Recall

Takata has been the world’s leading airbag manufacturer for a wide swath of automakers, foreign and domestic. There are very few airbag systems on the roads that are not made by Takata. So when Takata’s airbag started malfunctioning and having design defects that appeared in 2016 and into 2017, it became a major safety concern.

Millions of vehicles were impacted by Takata’s airbags, which either did not inflate properly or (in the majority of cases) expelled shrapnel into the faces of drivers after the airbag deployed, usually causing scratches and other injuries to the eyes and face. The shrapnel apparently came from inflators that disintegrated inside the bag.

Legal Claims for Defective Airbags

Should your vehicle have an airbag that does not deploy properly, if at all, or has some other defect that causes injury, you may be able to file a claim even if you are not in an accident – especially if the airbag causes injuries that result in time lost from work or causes damage to the vehicle. There is a reasonable expectation that all equipment in a vehicle will be in proper working condition.

If the airbag does not work as expected but you are not injured, take the vehicle to a mechanic or the dealership to get the airbag fixed. If the defect is noticed in an auto-accident situation, make notes of any injuries that may have stemmed from the airbag and work with a local personal injury attorney to consider placing liability on the automaker and the manufacturer of the airbag system when it can be determined that the airbag can be deemed a factor in some of your injuries, if not the accident itself.

A Right to Safety

While owning and driving a car is a privilege, you do have a right to expect safety with the vehicle you have the privilege of owning. If that right to safety is compromised in some way, you should fight for your right to be whole and demand accountability for the compromising of your safety. Have a personal-injury attorney conduct a thorough investigation of your auto accident and determine the role that a defective airbag may play in the accident, and ensure that liability is placed at the feet of the right entities so you can be compensated for the breach of trust.

If you have been involved in a car accident ad the airbags in your vehicle did not work properly resulting in an injury, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. The team of attorneys at Memphis Law Firm specialize in car accident injuries. Contact us today to find out more information about your case.