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Cellphones and distracted driving accidents

The rise in the number of distracted driving accidents in Kentucky and across the country has law enforcement agencies and road safety advocates alarmed. Efforts to warn Americans about the dangers of using electronic devices while behind the wheel have failed to make much of an impression, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has asked cellphone makers to include features that restrict what drivers are able to do with their devices.

The NHTSA wants the companies to produce cellphones that can be paired with modern automobiles or put into a driver mode when pairing is not possible. If the manufacturers comply with the request, the screens on paired devices would only be able to display notifications from emergency services. The proposed driver mode would allow mapping services to work as normal while preventing text messages, photographs and videos from being displayed.

NHTSA is hoping that cellphone manufacturers will welcome the opportunity to be part of the solution to a growing and dangerous problem. According to NHTSA figures, distracted driving car and truck accidents claimed the lives of about 10 percent of the 35,092 Americans who died on the nation's roads in 2015. Members of the public have until Feb. 3 to submit comments about the proposed measures.

Personal injury attorneys must be able to establish negligence if they are to secure compensation for car and truck accident victims. This could be fairly straightforward when the defendants in these cases were highly intoxicated or driving dangerously fast at the time of a crash, but evidence of distraction may not always be as apparent. In these situations, attorneys could study the data stored on cellphones to determine whether or not a motorist was using such a device at the time of the accident.

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