Everyone knows the old joke, “Why did the chicken cross the road?” The answer is simply, “To get to the other side.” What if the joke was phrased, “Why do people drive a car?” You would think the punch line would be, “To get to where they need to go.” Instead it seems like drivers these days are doing everything except paying attention to the task at hand, safely driving their car.
Apple has just showcased the CarPlay iPhone connection for cars. What exactly is CarPlay? It features Siri voice control but also works with your car’s controls so you will have more opportunities to drive distracted and take your eyes off the road to turn knobs and use the touchscreen. It promises to send, read and reply to your text messages for you. Leaving you with your eyes on the road and hands on the steering wheel. This new hands free texting is touted by Apple to be safer. However AAA recently teamed up with experts at the University of Utah to conduct the most in-depth analysis to date of the impact of cognitive distractions on drivers’ performance. They found that some hands-free technologies, like voice-to-text email, can be far more dangerous than even handheld phone conversations.
So if Apple and car manufacturers know that this technology is not safer to use while driving why are they promoting it? The answer is of course for profit. The terrible thing is that the marketing and hype for this product may in fact convince people that it is safe to read e-mail and compose text messages while driving. It seems like the media is sending mixed messages about distracted driving. Our Virginia personal injury law firms participates in a nationwide program called “End Distracted Driving” and we only send one message; driving distracted has serious and deadly consequences. Our presentation includes videos of families and friends who suffered the death of loved ones in a variety of distracted driving circumstances.