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Ches Crosbie Barristers

Is Technology Both The Cause Of And Solution To Distracted Driving?

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Everyone knows the dangers of distracted driving, and everyone – well not quite everyone – does it.

In Ontario, the police report that almost 50% of high school drivers admitted to texting while driving. The Ontario police say that inattention to driving is a greater cause of road deaths than both impairment and speed.

In motor vehicle accident litigation, distracted driving has become an important liability issue, with production of cell phone records becoming a standard request. 

The Ontario government is doing the standard thing by increasing fines for the prohibited use of handheld devices to a minimum of $300 and up to $1,000. 

But this will not cure the problem. Mount Pearl/St. John’s, CBS, Bay Roberts and surrounding and urban areas are witnessing growth of traffic and much wasted time and grid lock, just as do many Ontario urban areas. Gridlock increases the temptation and pressure on drivers to use the wasted time for other purposes. Increasing fines will not cure the problem.

Maybe a technological fix for the problem is not that far away. Google now has authorization from three U.S. states to put Google cars on the road. These cars are required to have a driver for emergency purposes, but otherwise do everything by themselves. The time is coming when drivers can’t run a red light, because the electronics in the car and the electronics in the traffic signals are synchronized, and it simply won’t be possible. Saved by technology!

Same thing with personal communication devices. The time is not far down the road (no puns intended) when use of handheld devices in a moving vehicle will be technologically blocked. Technology will save us from ourselves.  

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