New Technology Designed to Reduce Distracted and Drowsy Driving by Teens


January 17, 2014

Although cell phone use by novice teen drivers poses a serious increased risk of causing teen driving collisions, parents often face a daunting task when trying to get kids to turn off their mobile phone when they are traveling the roads of Clayton and other areas in the Atlanta Metro area. The threat created by distracted teen drivers may be amplified by lack of sleep because inattention and drowsiness are an extremely dangerous combination when navigating curves at highway speeds. Although Georgia law attempts to mitigate these risks to some degree for newly licensed teenage drivers, some promising new technological innovations may augment these efforts and reduce the risk of fatal teen driving accidents.

Teen drivers account for a disproportionate number of distracted and sleep-deprived car crashes. A survey of teen drivers conducted by the Pew Research Center found that a third of all teen drivers between the ages 16-17 indicated that they have engaged in text messaging while driving. More than half of the teens in the study who owned cell phones (52 percent) indicated that they talk on a mobile phone while driving.

The impact of lack of sleep on teen drivers is reflected by a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine that revealed drivers who start school earlier in the morning are more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident. School administrators were able to reduce teen accident rates by almost 17 percent when one county adjusted its start time so that it was one hour later.

Although Georgia law has provisions to reduce the dangers faced by teen drivers, these teen driving restrictions have deficiencies. While teenagers are prohibited from using a cell phone to talk or text, these laws carry relatively nominal fines and pose enforcement challenges which may undercut their effectiveness as a deterrent to cell phone use behind the wheel. Further, there are no specific laws that directly address drowsy driving by novice teen drivers.

There is new technology on the horizon that may eventually supplement these legal approaches to reducing crashes involving teen drivers. Thirty eight state have announced that they will be participating in a new program that involves parents installing a device in their car that disables a phone from being used for texting and calling. The device also monitors teen driving behavior and allows parents to customize the setting to block a range of "apps" when the vehicle is moving.

Another piece of technology being developed by a private company also is being offered to combat drowsy driving. The device referred to as Vigo® is a headset equipped with an infrared sensor that monitors driver drowsiness. When the headset determines that a driver is not alert, it jolts the driver awake with music, flashing lights and/or vibration. This device which is currently a quick start project is just one of a variety of new innovations designed to reduce the risk of drivers falling asleep while navigating the streets and highways of Georgia.

Contact The Attorneys at Montlick and Associates For Your Free Case Review

While technology offers promise for the future, there are still many drowsy and distracted driving collisions involving teen and adult drivers. If you or a family member is injured in a collision, our Atlanta Accident Lawyers at Montlick and Associates have been representing injury victims for over thirty years throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

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.