Can I Safely Text/Tweet While I Drive in St. Louis, Missouri?
Posted on March 14th, 2011 by Zane Cagle
The high profile death of a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon has brought texting and tweeting while driving to front pages of newspapers again. The surgeon was Tweeting when he went over a cliff in his Jeep. In a U.S study by the Pew Research Center found that 47 percent of all adults who text say they have read or sent a text message while driving.
People continue to want to multi-task while driving even though we hear daily in the news about auto accidents and truck accidents that result from using handheld devices. According to Jim Buczkowski, global director for electoral and electronics systems at Ford, he states that connectivity is important to consumers. Ford, like many other car manufacturers, are continually developing new technology that will allow drivers to have hands free communication and voice commands in their cars so they can stay connected while driving.
According to opponents of communicating, while driving including use of hands free devices is still not a good option, Surrey mom and president of West Coast Way Consulting, Karen Bowman has launched Drop It and Drive, a campaign to raise awareness. Bowman’s website, dropitanddriv.com, blogs and tours schools discussing the danger of texting/talking while driving.
However, there are numerous companies and manufacturers that are developing hands free communication devices that recognize voice commands for everything from adjusting the temperature, changing radio station, to supplying “auto-replies” for your text and emails. Ford has developed an eight-inch touch display screen with categories-climate, phone, media play and navigation-in each corner of the navigation screen. While MyFord Touch doesn’t have an email function, one can get applications for your BlackBerry, iPhone, Android, and other smartphones that will read emails out loud while you’re driving, as well as some that will let you listen to emails and texts and dictate replies.
Technology has created the environment of allowing each of us to stay connected almost wherever we are, 24 hours a day through our smartphones and computers. As we have become vigorous consumers of information and have become a generation of extreme multi-taskers, it would seem that auto makers must utilize that technology so that we can communicate in a hands free way. But the question, “If an activity requires two hands, shouldn’t my full brain be involved?”
While there are proponents on each side of the issue, the standpoint from a legal issue is developing as well as technology does. In situations where the driver was texting/tweeting/emailing seconds before or during the accident, jury members and judges are seeing this as a factor in causing the accident. Truck drivers are not to ever be using hand held devices while operating semi-trucks and this factor has been a part of several cases we have handled. Auto manufacturer Ford has found that through its simulator testing that you shouldn’t take your eyes off the road for more than 1.5 seconds. Yet, in order to glance at one hand held device or try to read a short sentence can require several seconds.
If you have been in an auto accident or collision with a semi-truck, it is important to consult a St. Louis personal injury attorney right away so that they may initiate a thorough investigation into all of the factors that caused the collision. Zane T. Cagle of The Cagle Law Firm has much experience representing victims of accidents and is an aggressive advocate of victim’s rights. Contact (314) 276-1681 for your free consultation to determine if you have a personal injury or wrongful death claim.
Source: Shaw, Gillian. Help for those driven to distraction. New Brunswick Business Journal, March 14, 2011.