The majority of motorists in Washington, D.C., are aware of the fact that it is dangerous to use their phones while operating their vehicles. Although most motorists know this, an experienced personal injury lawyer knows that about 11 percent of drivers are distracted by electronics at any given time on the roads in the United States. The problem is drivers know it is dangerous but still look at their phones because of habit or because they don't actually believe the risk applies to them.
As dangerous as smart phones and in-vehicle electronics are, there may be an even bigger risk on the roads soon: smart watches. Smart watches are not a brand new product, but the release of a smart watch by Apple in April means that the products may be moving mainstream. According to Fast Company, some estimates suggest 30 million people are going to buy Apple watches over the course of this year. Just in the first week the product was released, there were more than a million Apple watches sold in the United States. Many of the people buying and wearing these watches are drivers who are naturally going to be distracted by the watch while behind the wheel.
Are Smart Watches More Dangerous Than Other Technologies?
Smart watches can be especially dangerous because they continually send alerts to a motorist using pulses and sounds. A driver who feels his watch alert him to something, like the arrival of a text message, is likely going to respond to that alert. Even if the driver uses a hands-free device to respond to the alert, he will still focus some of his brain energy on the communications instead of on the road. This can result in a delay in responding to stimulus on the road, inattention blindness, and less brain energy focused on being a safe driver.
There are few studies on how Apple watches or other smart watches are likely to impact driving safety because the watches are still relatively new. However, research that has been done to-date on the use of smart watches while driving shows that the watches are a bigger distraction and a more dangerous distraction than phones and in-vehicle electronic devices. The issue is both that drivers are more likely to look at the watch due to its accessibility and that drivers are more likely to look at the watch for a longer period of time than they would look at their phones.
Fast Company indicates safety experts responding to the current studies are advocating a ban on the use of a smart watch while driving. There are, however, some problems. One issue is that it is going to take time for new laws to catch up to technology and existing laws may not be effective in banning the use of a smart watch. There may also be problems with enforcement as it is harder to see when someone is wearing and manipulating a watch on the wrist, as compared with using a phone.
All of this means that more smart watches means a bigger risk of accidents for motorists.
Accident lawyers in Washington, DC can help if you have been injured in an accident. Contact the Mike Slocumb Law Firm at 1-800-HURTLINE or visit www.slocumblaw.com.