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Are attentive drivers the minority?

According to the National Safety Council, motor vehicle deaths have risen by 14 percent since 2014. The reasons for the increase are a matter of significant discussion among safety experts. The most common culprits discussed are increasing traffic congestion, more speeding and a rise in distracted driving. Part of the discussion is whether one of the tools used to curb distracted driving deaths may actually be contributing to them.

A technological crutch

The vast majority of fatal car accidents are the result of mistakes made by drivers. Eliminating human error would save tens of thousands of lives every year. In an effort to address some of the mistakes made by drivers, automakers have introduced technology to lend a hand. Driver assist devices can help you stay between the lines, avoid rear-end accidents and control your speed. Rather than showing drivers the right way to drive, these devices may be encouraging dangerous levels of distraction.

Fully autonomous vehicles are likely a long way off from taking over American roads. Polls indicate that drivers are already dreaming of the day when they can make phone calls, grab a bite to eat, read, watch TV, nap or otherwise spend the time currently spent operating their vehicles. Unfortunately, many drivers seem to have blended some of these behaviors into their driving time before the technology exists to support them.

The future of driving

Driver-assist technologies are encouraging drivers to reach new lows in terms of safe driving skills. More people than ever feel free to stare at their phones when they should be watching the road. The attention given to safe driving was inadequate before smart phones and driver-assist technology. The two forms of technology threaten to make American roads even more of a hazard than they are now.

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