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Safety Experts Blame Apps for Rise in Traffic Fatalities

Due to introduction and widespread use of smartphones in America over the past decade, the temptation to drive while distracted is higher than ever before. But while texting while driving has often been the focus as the primary smartphone-related danger, it appears that another form of distraction may be equally prevalent: apps.

According to a New York Times article featuring data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), apps used in cars such as Instagram, Waze, YouTube, Snapchat, and even games like Pokémon Go contributed to the largest spike in traffic deaths nationally in 50 years in 2015, with this year’s numbers so far appearing to be even worse. In the first six months of 2016, highway deaths rose to 17,775 – a staggering 10.4% compared to the same period last year. This spike follows a 7.2% jump in traffic deaths in 2015 after several years of declining rates.

How Do Apps Distract Drivers?

While most apps strongly discourage use while driving through disclaimers, many have features which essentially reward users for using the app while driving. For example, Snapchat allows motorists to post photos with a filter that records the speed of their vehicle, while Waze rewards drivers with points when they report traffic jams and accidents. Even apps like Pokémon Go have drivers staring at their phones searching for digital monsters while navigating the nation’s roads.

“This is a crisis that needs to be addressed now,” said Mark R. Rosekind, head of the NHTSA. As a result of these alarming statistics, the Department of Transportation and National Safety Council devised a “Road to Zero” strategy with goal of eliminating roadway fatalities within the next three decades. While some are pushing for tighter seatbelt and helmet laws for drivers and motorcyclists, others believe that placing more emphasis on the development of autonomous-driving technologies is the answer.

Injured by a Distracted Driver?

At Dean Law Firm, our Midland-Odessa car accident attorneys have been fighting to protect victims of distracted driving accidents for decades, securing millions in verdicts and settlements on our clients’ behalf along the way. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, call (432) 214-8125 or contact our office online today to find out how we can help you pursue fair compensation for your suffering.