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The Challenge for Lawmakers in Keeping Pace with Evolving Types of Driving Distractions

December 30, 2013

While many people now recognize that texting and talking on a cell phone is extremely dangerous, the rate at which electronic communication technology is changing has made it difficult to keep up with the newest electronic driving distractions.

We recently discussed a new AAA study that raised questions about the distraction posed by infotainment systems installed in many new vehicles. While these systems are designed to discourage the distractions involved in holding and operating portable electronic devices by utilizing voice commands, a AAA study found that the cognitive distractions associated with these voice activated communication and information systems makes them as dangerous as handheld cell phones. This result is consistent with over thirty separate studies and reports cited by the National Safety Council that have concluded hands-free cell phone restrictions do not make those navigating the roadways safer.

Even though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has only recently passed guidelines for vehicle manufacturers to limit the level of distraction posed by infotainment systems, a new electronic driving distraction – Google Glass – threatens to present a new hazardous distraction for drivers.

In the first of its kind case, a woman in California was recently stopped and issued a ticket under the state's distracted driving law based on use of Google Glass. The driver indicated that she was not even wearing the glasses when she received the citation under the law which prohibits drivers from watching television and videos while operating a motor vehicle. The law makes it illegal to have video screens in the vehicle turned on and facing a driver. The law like similar laws in many states permits displays limited to backup camera and GPS displays which suggest the challenge associated with deciding which of these new electronic innovations should be viewed as an approved safety feature as opposed to a dangerous distraction.

While a few states have already passed laws prohibiting or limiting the use of Google Glass while driving, most jurisdictions are struggling to keep up with the constant innovation of new electronic gadgets that may serve as a distraction. Georgia has not yet enacted legislation that provides specific guidelines for Google Glass. Although the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has proposed banning the use of all electronic devices, states including Georgia are still attempting to deal with the problem of emerging technology that imposes driving distractions on an ad hoc basis as the technology develops.

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If you or someone close to you has been injured or a family member has died in a collision with a distracted driver, our Georgia auto crash lawyers at Montlick and Associates have been representing injury victims for over thirty years throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.

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Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.