Who can watch the road with all this to see and do?
Dashboards can do everything these days. Search for the latest tune on Spotify? Check. Know the latest NFL score? Of course.
But encourage you to order dinner? General Motors just added an application that allows drivers to place restaurant orders while driving. GM is launching the Marketplace app in millions of its new models so millions of hungry drivers can study menus as they drive at 70 MPH.
Just as unnerving, the driver can also book a hotel on Priceline or peruse shopping sites on this new app.
Of course internet connectivity can help improve safety if used responsibly. Instead of looking at a map, you can keep your eyes on the road while listening to voice-activated GPS directions. If you’re in a car accident in a remote area, your Wi-Fi could be a God send to get help more quickly.
But bad driving is already out of control in North Texas. We all see drivers not looking at the road and weaving into our lanes. Playing with these apps is unnecessary and dangerous. Shame on GM and the other auto makers for allowing them on dashboards. They should be illegal.
How Wi-Fi could affect your personal injury case
The stats speak for themselves. Distracted driving caused a whopping 3,477 deaths and 391,000 reported injuries in 2015 and the numbers would be higher if the police had all the facts.
We know it’s unsafe, but what should you expect from the legal system if you were hit by a distracted driver?
Texas liability insurance pays damages to other drivers or occupants of the vehicle if the policyholder, or somebody covered under his insurance, is at fault.
In other words, if you can show that the other driver was too busy ordering tacos to see you before he crashed into you, you have a strong case for compensation.
But Texas follows a comparative negligence rule, which reduces damages by the percentage of blame placed on any driver or negligent party.
So under this rule, if you were found 30 percent to blame for the collision because you shifted your focus to your dashboard, your damages would be reduced by 30 percent.
Proving your distracted driving claim
Your injury lawyer must gather crucial evidence that shows the driver was distracted by the Wi-Fi and that the distraction caused the crash. It’s not as easy as you might think. Immediate investigation is the key.
When I started representing auto crash victims in Fort Worth 37 years ago, dashboards were not as sophisticated as they are now. I think there were six push buttons and you had to flip back and forth to get AM and FM. CDs had just been invented – Dark Side of the Moon was my first one – but you couldn’t play it in your car. Today a vehicle’s bells and whistles are more distracting than ever but they also yield valuable evidence if you know how to find it.
I remain up-to-date on these newest gadgets and my experts and I know how to obtain evidence by using technology. Through downloads and subpoenas I try to piece together the driver’s interaction with his car’s electronic components or smartphone in the moments leading up to the crash to help my clients achieve justice.