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Category Archives: Distracted Driving

distracted drivers

Delaware Cracks Down on Distracted Drivers

Bear Car Accident Lawyers discuss Delaware's crack down on distracted drivers. The Delaware Office of Highway Safety and the Delaware State Police joined forces and came up with an innovative plan to cut back on distracted driving and seat belt violations in Delaware. A Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) truck was stationed at a roadside and was used to report incidents of these violations. Information about drivers, vehicles, and types of violations were sent to law enforcement officers who then went to stop the vehicles. The 19 citations included marijuana possession, child restraint and seat belt violations, and cell phone use while driving.

Distracted Driving in Delaware

Since 2011, Delaware has followed a hands-free cell phone law, which prohibits drivers from using hand-held devices while driving. If caught, drivers receive a $100 fine for first offenses, and subsequent offenses can cost up to $300. The Delaware State Police and Office of Highway Safety’s Public Information Officer emphasized the state’s zero-tolerance distracted driving policy. She added that non-traditional operations, like the DelDOT vehicle, are being used to ramp up education as well as enforcement for those breaking the law.

Crash Statistics

A 2016 report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed that distracted drivers caused 3,450 deaths nationwide. These numbers have been steadily increasing in Delaware and throughout the country since 2012. Studies also show that drivers between 16 and 24-years old show more cell phone usage than other age groups. Other causes of distraction include eating and drinking, grooming, turning to look at an accident, talking with another passenger, and not paying attention.

Staying Focused

It is important to stay focused when behind the wheel. One of the best ways to do this is to click on a seat belt, and either put away or use the Do Not Disturb feature for electronic devices before turning on the ignition. Any passenger that sees their driver using an electronic device should ask them not to use it while driving. If you must take a phone call, pull over to the side of the road.

Bear Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Victims Injured in Distracted Driving Accidents

If you or someone you know has been injured in a distracted driving accident, contact the Bear car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow today. We will hold the negligent party responsible for your injuries so that you can focus on your recovery. For a free case evaluation, contact us online or call us at 302-834-8484. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state, including the areas of Elsmere and Seaford.

distracted driving

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers call attention to April being Distracted Driving Awareness Month and warn drivers about the dangers of distracted driving. Distracted driving kills thousands of people every year. In fact, according to the National Safety Council (NSC), every day 100 are injured and at least nine people are killed in motor vehicle accidents due to distracted driving.

The NSC has declared that April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and a great time to remind everyone about the dangers of driving while not paying attention to the road.

Distracted Driving Facts

  • Over 400,000 people are injured in accidents that involve a distracted driver.
  • Cell phone use while operating a vehicle is the most common form of distracted driving, and teen drivers are more likely to be involved in a car accident due to texting than adults.
  • Twenty percent of teenagers say that they have had entire conversations by text while operating a vehicle.

Common Causes of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving car accidents happen when drivers are trying to multitask. Many things can cause distractions while driving, and everyone has probably been guilty of engaging in at least some form of distracted driving at one time or another.

Examples of distracted driving include:

  • Using a cell phone: Talking or texting while driving is very common when it comes to distracted driving accidents. There is no safe way to use a cell phone while operating a moving vehicle. Using a cell phone, whether handheld or not, is a form of multitasking and may lessen your ability to focus on the road.
  • Talking to other passengers: There is nothing wrong with talking to other passengers in the vehicle, as long as you know that paying attention to the road is your primary concern. Turning to look at someone in the passenger seat is very dangerous and may lead to a car accident.
  • Grooming: Using the rearview mirror to groom yourself, whether brushing your hair, shaving, or applying makeup, may lead to shifting the mirror and forgetting to readjust it to see the traffic behind you, in addition to the potential consequences of generally taking your attention from the road.
  • Adjusting the radio or GPS: These actions may seem innocuous, but taking your eyes off the road for as little as five seconds while, traveling 55 mph, is the equivalent of crossing a football field blindfolded.
  • Taking your eyes off the road for any reason: Maybe you are distracted by another accident on the side of the road and turn to look at it, or you are distracted by children bickering in the backseat. Taking your eyes off the road for even a second may lead to fatal consequences.

Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving

Distracted driving accidents, although common, are 100 percent preventable. Practicing a few of these safety measures can help reduce your chances of being involved in a car crash:

  • Use your cell phone in emergency situations only, or consider pulling off the road.
  • If you are feeling drowsy, you should pull off the road to prevent falling asleep at the wheel.
  • Try to avoid eating while driving. Dropping food and attempting to reach for it is extremely dangerous.
  • Set your radio and GPS before getting on the road.
  • Finish getting dressed and grooming yourself at home.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Represent Victims Injured in Accidents Due to Distracted Driving

If you were injured due to a distracted driver, you need a lawyer that will fight to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. The Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow represent victims injured in distracted driving accidents. For a free consultation, contact us online or contact us by phone at our Wilmington office at 302-427-9500, our Bear office at 302-834-8484, or our Milford office at 302-422-6705. We proudly represent clients in Elsmere, Seaford, and across Delaware.

distracted driving

Distracted Driving Crashes

Delaware Car Accident Lawyers discuss distracted driving accidents. Cell phones and driving do not mix. Yet it is almost irresistible for people to use their cell phones while driving. Some technologic advances have been made to develop hands-free calling to minimize risk of distraction from dialing.

Chances are these have helped avoid some car accidents. But distracted driving from use of cell phones for texting and social media has more than offset any advances from hands free technology.

Effects of Deterrents

Delaware banned use of hand-held phones while driving in 2012. But this has not deterred many drivers from using their cell phones. The Delaware office of Highway Safety has noted that in the past five years distracted driving crashes have skyrocketed. From 2013 to 2017 there were 224 crashes involving a distracted driver using a cell phone. Sadly, seven of those crashes involved fatalities.

The trend is being repeated throughout the country. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that in 2015, about ten percent of total highway deaths were related to distracted driving. Among twenty-somethings, that percentage is more than double the national average. About 27 percent of highway deaths among these young drivers are due to distracted driving.

Signs of Cell Phone Use While Driving

There are some tell-tale signs of a driver using their cell phone. These include lane departures, running a stop sign, running a red light, or being slow to evade impact. Investigators look for these signs when evaluating the crash site.

In addition, crash investigations now include accounting for cell phones, and determining whether they were being used when the crash occurred. If there is probable cause that distraction factored into an accident, an investigating officer can get a court order to examine cell phone records. This allows them to determine if the device was in use during the crash, and reveals when text messages were sent or received.

Increased Enforcement Ahead

A spokesperson from AAA Mid-Atlantic observed that more and more people recognize the dangers, yet they are still driving while distracted by using their cell phone. Delaware is planning on increasing its enforcement presence in order to reduce incidents of distracted driving.

In a recent enforcement campaign, unmarked vans on Route 1 in Dover were deployed to spot offending drivers. Thirty tickets for illegal phone use were issued over a two-month period.

In another campaign in Rehoboth Beach, officers wrote 16 citations for cell phone and safety belt infractions in just one afternoon. First offense fines are up to $100.00.

The Delaware Office of Highway Safety has granted funding to 14 police departments throughout the state for future patrols. These are considered necessary due to the excessive number of serious crashes being caused by cell phone use distraction.

Delaware Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Those Injured in Distracted Driving Accidents

If you or a loved one has been injured in a distracted driving accident, contact an experienced Delaware car accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow. A free consultation can be scheduled by completing our online form or calling us at 302-427-9500. We serve clients throughout the state of Delaware from our offices in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, including the communities of Elsmere and Seaford.

thanksgiving travel

Thanksgiving Travel Safety

Bear Car Accident Lawyers offer travel safety to help commuters avoid Thanksgiving car accidents. Thanksgiving is a beloved holiday to many Americans. It is a time when we make an extra effort to see family and celebrate our good fortune together. To many, that means driving.

Nearly 43 million Americans will take to the road for the holiday. Many of them will be driving for 50 miles or more.

Take the time before you go to consider the following safety tips to help avoid car accidents on a road trip.

Road Trip Preparations

Make sure your car is ready for the trip. A small effort to perform a maintenance check can avoid a big inconvenience later.

Tires, Tread and Fluids: Check tire pressure and tread depth. One trick for checking tread depth: place a penny into the tread with Lincoln’s head toward the tire. You should not be able to see the top of Lincoln’s head.

Check oil, wiper fluid, and gas. Fill them up before you leave.

Weather: Check the forecast before you leave. Weather this time of year is unpredictable. Particularly in the northeast, this can help reduce the risk of driving on slippery and hard to see black ice.

Know Where You are Going: Distracted driving accounts for more and more accidents each year. Be sure you know the route and have directions at the ready without needing to fiddle with your phone or a map while driving.

Use a GPS navigation system if you have it. In addition to providing directions, they can also locate gas stations or restaurants on the route. Most GPS systems can also alert you to traffic disruptions and congestion and suggest alternative routes.

Expect traffic: Thanksgiving is the most heavily traveled holiday of the year. You will not be on time if you do not account for traffic. Add a buffer of time for the traffic and you will not be stressed or late. Consider traveling at off-peak times to avoid the worst of it.

Rest: Drive when you are alert and well rested. If you lead a stressful life, you may need to make an extra effort to get a good night’s sleep the day before you travel. Driving while tired can have an impact similar to driving while intoxicated. Reaction times, concentration, and coordination can all be compromised if you drive tired.

Avoid Distractions: Two seconds of distraction has been correlated with doubling the chance of an accident. Focus on the road to make sure you see what is coming and can react accordingly.

Seatbelts Save Lives: Everyone in the car should wear a safety belt, especially small children, who should be properly buckled into compliant car seats. Safety belts reduce the risk of fatalities by 45 percent.

Plan Ahead: Have a game plan for spending a long time in the car. The more prepared you are for the trip, the better. Particularly if you are traveling with kids. They can get bored or cranky on long trips. Anticipate this and have adequate water, snacks, games, music, and allow for rest stops.

Take these few precautions to ensure you can enjoy your visit with family and/or friends this Thanksgiving.

Bear Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Can Help People Injured by Negligent Drivers

If you have been injured in a car accident, the Bear car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow are ready to assist you.  You can get a free consultation by completing our online form or calling us at 302-834-8484. We serve clients throughout the state of Delaware from our offices in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford.

teens driving

Teens and Risky Driving

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers weigh in on teen drivers and risky habits such as distracted driving in the summer months. As families attend pool parties, BBQ’s, and prepare to send their kids off to college, the languid days of summer can easily lull us into a happy state of complacency. However, when it comes to our teenagers getting behind the wheel this summer, the sentiment should be anything but.

On average, 260 teens are fatally injured in car crashes each month during summer. This is an increase of 26 percent compared with the other months of the year. Because teen drivers are already three times more likely than experienced drivers to be involved in a fatal crash, adding risky driving behaviors to the mix is a daunting prospect.

Distracted Driving

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has named distracted driving one of several risky driving behaviors. Unfortunately, in 2016 distracted driving claimed almost 4,000 lives. Teens were the largest group of distracted drivers reported at the time of the fatal wrecks.

When most of us think of distracted driving, we assume the definition is limited to texting or talking on the cell phone. However, distracted driving includes eating, changing the radio station, engaging with the GPS, and even talking to others in the vehicle. Distracted driving is anything that takes a driver’s attention off the road. When it comes to an inexperienced driver, even something like talking to passenger can put lives at risk.

Drunk Driving

The rates of fatal accidents caused by teen drunk drivers are declining. Teens caught driving with alcohol in their system can face jail, fines, and loss of license. For those under 21, a Delaware law enforcement officer can issue a DUI for a BAC of .02 percent.

How You Can Help

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is involved in an ongoing campaign to educate all Americans about the dangers of risky driving. By forming partnerships with state and local police, the NHTSA works to enforce distracted and drunk driving laws.

Parents can join this fight to save lives and help their teens stay safe this summer by keeping the lines of communication open:

  • Talk with kids about the dangers of distracted driving.
  • Discuss the legal consequences of drunk driving and the impact it could have on a teenager or young adult’s future.
  • Encourage and empower your teens to call you for a ride instead of getting in the car with a driver who has been drinking.
  • Eliminate distractions in your own vehicle.
  • Model risk-free driving for your teen.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Fight for Those Injured in Distracted Driving Accidents

If you or a loved one has been injured in a distracted driving or drunk driving accident, contact the Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow. To schedule a free consultation, call 302-427-0099 today or contact us online. From our offices in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford Delaware, we represent individuals and families upstate and downstate Delaware.

distracted driving

Distracted Driving

Bear Car Accident Lawyers discuss the different types of distracted driving. Have you ever checked your GPS or map on the way to a new location? Changed the radio station on your car radio while cruising down the road? Turned to answer a question posed by a passenger while driving? If so, you have engaged in distracted driving.

Most drivers have heard the warnings related to the dangers of texting or talking on a cell phone while driving. Traffic safety experts now hope to raise awareness on all types of “distracting driving” activities, which include:

  • Talking on a cell phone
  • Texting
  • Playing a game or using another app on a cell phone
  • Reaching for a ringing phone
  • Using in-vehicle technologies such as touch screen menus, infotainment systems, or in-vehicle navigation systems
  • Checking maps
  • Taking photographs
  • Changing the radio station or inserting CDs into car stereo systems
  • Posting to social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat, or checking email
  • Eating and drinking
  • Applying makeup, brushing or combing hair, or other grooming activities

Distracted driving occurs any time a driver takes their eyes off of the road, or is mentally engaged in a task other than driving. When drivers even temporarily lose sight or focus on the road ahead, they are engaged in distracted driving.

Risks of Distracted Driving

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 9 people each day are killed in an automobile crash involving a distracted driver.

With over 480,000 drivers handling their cell phones or other electronic devices while driving at any given time in the United States, the problem of distracted driving continues to be a significant safety risk. Research conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute states that drivers are 3 times more likely to get into a motor vehicle accident when distracted by a cell phone while driving.

In response to the problem of distracted driving, car manufacturers are reexamining the functionality of infotainment systems and the mental demands they place on drivers. To complete an infotainment system task requires a driver’s visual and cognitive attention.

When a vehicle’s infotainment system allows the driver to perform tasks unrelated to driving, such as browsing the internet or checking social media, it increases the risk for distracted driving. AAA research indicates that of the 30 infotainment systems in new 2017 vehicles tested, 12 systems generated a “very high” demand on the drivers, while 11 systems creating a “high” demand on the driver.

Preventing Distracting Driving

Recognizing the dangers associated with distracted driving is the first step in reducing the frequency of this driving behavior. Many traffic safety advocacy organizations, such as the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, are launching research and public education campaigns to warn drivers of the risks associated with distracted driving.

Drivers should remember that even the five seconds it takes to send a text, travel time equivalent to crossing a football field, could cost someone their life.

Recognizing that cell phones are a major cause of distracted driving, several cell phone apps also have been developed to help fight distracted driving. Many drivers have taken a “Distracted Driving Pledge” to pull over to the side of the road before checking a map or sending a text message.

Bear Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Assist Victims of Distracted Driving Accidents

If you have suffered injuries in a car accident caused by distracted driving, you may be entitled to compensation. To speak to an experienced Bear car accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow about your litigation options, call today at 302-834-8484 or submit an online inquiry form. From our offices in Bear, Wilmington, and Milford we serve injured workers throughout the state of Delaware.

high wind truck accidents

High Wind Truck Accidents

Wilmington Truck Accident Lawyers discuss high wind truck accidents. When high winds strike, the vehicles that are impacted the most are trucks. Their large size essentially transforms them into sails that catch the wind and can result in the truck being blown over or off the road. A truck accident caused by wind may cause catastrophic injuries to the occupants of nearby passenger vehicles and some accidents may be fatal.

Truck drivers are used to spending their days on the road in different weather conditions, but they have a responsibility to be aware of upcoming weather events that may present a danger to themselves and those around them. While they cannot control the weather, they can choose not to drive through dangerous conditions. Tractor trailers that are empty present a grave risk in high wind conditions as an empty trailer makes the truck much more susceptible to a rollover.

Causes of High Wind Truck Accidents

There are many factors that contribute to a high wind truck accident. Truck drivers and trucking companies are highly regulated and must meet strict federal and state safety standards that include the following:

  • Regular maintenance of equipment, such as brakes and tires, to prevent breakdowns under harsh weather conditions.
  • Proper loading of trailers to ensure the load is balanced and cannot shift under high wind conditions.
  • Compliance with speed limits because the size and weight of a truck requires increased stopping distances over that of a passenger vehicle. Speed must always be adjusted for the weather conditions and high winds may require the driver to pull over, however, many companies push their drivers to get to their destinations at any cost.
  • Hours of service, the number of hours a driver may work before taking a rest break, is strictly regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. They must log their hours, which are kept on record by the trucking company. Drivers who do not comply with regulations are at risk for drowsy driving, leaving them less likely to recognize sudden weather changes.
  • Distracted driving, whether the driver is eating or using a cellphone, is highly dangerous.

Failure to comply with safety regulations can constitute negligence on the part of the truck driver or trucking company. If you have been injured in a truck accident, you may be eligible for compensation, but be aware that liability in a truck accident can be complicated. The driver, the owner of the truck, and the trucking company will attempt to shift blame away from themselves to avoid paying damages. Working with an experienced truck accident attorney can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

Wilmington Truck Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow, LLC Assist Victims of Truck Accidents

Holding a truck company liable for your injuries can be an uphill battle. Contact an experienced Wilmington truck accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow, LLC who will fight to obtain the compensation you deserve, so that you can concentrate on your recovery. Call us at 302-427-9500 to schedule a free consultation about your case or contact us online. From our offices in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we assist injured victims throughout the state.


Pulse Technology for New Cars

Bear Car Accident Lawyers discuss Pulse technology which may help reduce rear end accidents. If you have not seen Pulse technology yet, you are likely to see it soon. Instead of a standard, solid brake light, Pulse technology features, as its name implies, a pulsing light mounted in the center of a car’s regular brake lights.

When you are behind a car fitted with a Pulse light, if the vehicle slows or stops, the flashing Pulse light should grab your attention. The human eye is able to detect flashing lights more quickly than solid lights. This helps in making the roads safer for everyone and reducing the number of rear end collisions.

Many dealerships are installing this potentially lifesaving, third-party technology.

What Is Pulse?

Pulse is an award winning, patented collision avoidance system. It is designed to be used in any vehicle (car, truck, or potentially even motorcycle) manufactured after 1991. The Pulse light flashes four times when the fitted vehicle slows or stops. It can be installed in vehicles with LED or regular incandescent lights, and it works with any 12-volt system.

Safety Statistics: Pulse Increases Reaction Times

Thirty-seven percent of all car accidents are rear end collisions. Further, not all of these accidents are minor fender benders. Some result in serious multi-car pileups. Twenty-eight percent of rear-end collisions are serious enough to result in a “total loss” of the vehicle (meaning the cost to repair exceeds the cost to replace the vehicle).

Both the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have found that 90 percent of rear end collisions could be avoided if the “trailing” driver had just one more second of warning. Because the human eye is able to detect flashing lights more quickly than a solid light, Pulse gives trailing drivers the extra one second edge that they need.

A recent study conducted by the NHTSA has found that Pulse technology actually increases trailing drivers’ reaction times by 40 percent. A similar study by auto-manufacturing giant Daimler Benz found that Pulse lights give the trailing driver 20 extra feet of reaction time if they are travelling 65 miles per hour.

How to Get Pulse

Although many dealerships are installing Pulse on all new vehicles, anyone with a car or truck manufactured after 1991 can get Pulse at almost any car dealership. The Pulse technology is about the size of a stick of gum, and adds about $5 to the average monthly car payment. This makes it a fairly valuable investment when considering the safety benefits that it provides.

Pulse is currently working with a number of auto insurance underwriters to see if the installation of the technology can qualify for a discount in insurance premiums.

Bear Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Represent Victims Injured in Rear End Accidents

It has happened to most of us at one point or another. You are sitting in traffic, minding your own business, when you are unexpectedly hit from behind by a driver who was not maintaining a safe following distance, and likely not paying attention. If you have been injured in a rear end collision, or any type of car accident, we can help you to obtain compensation for your injuries and property damage. With offices located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, the Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow offer flexible appointment times, including evenings and weekends. To learn more about how we can help, call us today at 302-427-9500 or contact us online.

customer fatally injured

2017 Crash Fatalities

Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow report on 2017 crash deathsFor the second year in a row, the number of car crash fatalities reached over 40,000. According to National Safety Council (NSC) estimates, there were 40,100 U.S. automotive fatalities in 2017. This number is down from 2016 in which there were 40,327 deaths, a one percent decrease. However, the 2017 estimate is six percent higher than the number of deaths from car wrecks in 2015.

The official numbers will be released later this year by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). If the estimates hold up, it will be the steepest two-year increase in more than 50 years. The NSC estimates the cost of motor vehicle deaths, personal injury and property damage at $413.8 billion in 2017.

Crash Deaths in Delaware

In 2015, there were 130 crash deaths in Delaware, compared to 119 in 2016 and 119 in 2017. From 2015 to 2017, there was therefore an eight percent decrease. Although this shows improvement, the NSC President and CEO says that there is a lot left to be accomplished in terms of improving roadway safety and decreasing the number of car wrecks.

Efforts to Improve Road Safety

Many policymakers agree that these crash deaths constitute a public health crisis that must be addressed. The NSC and the NHTSA both work to decrease the number of crashes and resulting injuries and deaths. The NSC spokeswoman says that, according to the estimates, they are not making the progress they had hoped for.

Safety advocates push for the implementation of high-tech safety improvements such as collision avoidance systems and self-driving vehicles. However, the American Automobile Association (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that in-vehicle technology may be hurting more than helping, as drivers take their eyes off the road for dangerous periods of time when trying to use voice-based and touch screen features.

The AAA research reveals that when programming navigation, drivers took their eyes off the road for an average of 40 seconds and most vehicle infotainment systems put high or very high levels of demand on drivers. This contributes to the 3,400 deaths and 391,000 personal injuries due to distracted driving each year, according to the NHTSA.

Wrongful Death in Delaware

When someone is injured in a car wreck caused by someone else’s negligence, they may file a personal injury claim to recover damages for the monetary damages associated with their injuries. If that person dies, the personal representative of their estate may file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased person’s beneficiaries. Family members may be able to recover damages for funeral and burial expenses, lost wages and benefits, loss of spousal or child support, loss of household services and mental anguish. In Delaware, a wrongful death claim must be filed within two years of the date of the deceased person’s death according to the state statute of limitations.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Survivors Pursue Wrongful Death Claims

If your loved one was fatally injured in a wreck due to someone else’s carelessness, you may be entitled to compensation for their preventable death. Contact an experienced Wilmington car accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow. We represent clients across Delaware, downstate Delaware, Milford, Wilmington, Bear and New Castle. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 302-427-9500.


GM Tech Allows Drivers to Shop Behind the Wheel

Bear Car Accident Lawyers weigh in on GM technology that may encourage more instances of distracted driving. General Motors recently announced the arrival of its newest onboard technology called “Marketplace.” The service app works through the onboard infotainment system. Consumers can use the center console to get recommendations about local dining and hotels as well as nearby gas stations. Then they can also access and purchase the items through the Marketplace app and even pay from inside the car.

The National Safety Council (NSC), a consumer safety advocacy group, immediately criticized the GM innovation as unsafe. In a written statement, NSC president, Deborah Hersman said that there is nothing safe about Marketplace and that it could create more wrecks and drive up car accident fatality numbers.

Risk of Distracted Driving

Last year U.S. motor vehicle accident fatalities were up by 5.6 percent. Groups like the NSC believe that distracted driving played a part in the increase. GM claims that it considered the risks of distracted driving when designing Marketplace and considers their app safer than mobile phone use. A spokesman for the company emphasized that GM used the self-imposed driver distraction guidelines agreed upon by car makers when Marketplace was designed. GM deliberately reduced the number of steps required to purchase something while driving. However, the NSC feels that car makers who introduce technology as safe are misleading consumers about the risk of using it while driving.

Targeting GM Drivers

All GM 2017 and 2018 cars equipped with the MyLink infotainment system will automatically receive the Marketplace app wirelessly. The estimated four million GM owners affected do not have a choice about receiving the update.

While onboard wireless internet is necessary for eventual implementation of autonomous features, GM has made known its interests in using it for additional sources of revenue. The recommendations that consumers will receive through Marketplace are only those of affiliate brands that have agreements with GM to be able to appear in the service. Starbucks, TGI Fridays, and Dunkin’ Donuts Inc. are some of the companies who have signed on.

The app uses the vehicle’s location to recommend nearby stores and it tracks what the driver buys. GM will send personalized marketing offers to drivers by collecting their personal data. They also see the acquisition of driver data as another way to make money.

In a demonstration of the Marketplace app, the process of ordering coffee took five taps on the center console. If each took just a second that was five seconds of distraction. Studies show that even one second of attention paid to something other than driving is enough to cause an accident.

Bear Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Advocate for Victims of Distracted Driving Accidents

If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident caused by the negligence of another party, we can help you determine your legal options for recovering compensation. Contact Rhoades & Morrow to speak to an experienced Bear car accident lawyer about your situation. An initial consultation is free of charge so call 302-834-8484 today or contact us online to schedule an appointment. From our offices in Wilmington, Bear and Milford, we advocate for clients throughout Delaware including those in New Castle County, Kent County, and Sussex County.

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