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The Role of GPS Use in Car Accidents

Wednesday, February 07, 2018By Nina Shapirshteyn

The use of GPS systems in cars is a fact of modern life. The technology that a GPS provides has been a tremendous convenience to drivers whether they use integrated GPS systems or devices on a smart phone. One of the major disadvantages of a GPS is that it is known to cause distracted driving and lead to accidents. For this reason, they are regulated under laws pertaining to distracted drivers. But laws may not be sufficient to curb distracted driving. As with all technology that can be used in a car, drivers must be educated on how to use GPS devices responsibly.

The Data on GPS Use and Accidents

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2015, there were 3,196 fatal crashes on U.S. roadways linked to distracted driving. This accounts for 10% of all fatal crashes. These accidents were caused by a number of distractions including texting, adjusting radios, and using GPS. The NHTSA has concluded that GPS devices are one of the most dangerous electronic distractions in the car.

How GPS Devices Lead to Crashes

There are a number of ways that GPS use contributes to inattentiveness while driving. Many drivers mute their GPS systems. The NHTS has found that distraction levels increased when the device was muted because drivers spent considerably more time looking at the screens instead of the road. Second, inputting information into a GPS to get directions while driving is akin to texting while driving. Because GPS users heavily depend on their devices to get directions, they are often looking at the screen repeatedly. Many accidents resulting from GPS use also occur because drivers rely too much on their navigation systems. The GPS software may fail to recognize unpaved roads or hazardous terrain, but GPS users follow these directions implicitly without questioning whether they seem correct or advisable.

Laws Banning GPS Use

In states where using an electronic handheld device is prohibited while driving, programming a GPS while driving is similarly banned. Some states, including California, specifically identify GPS use as prohibited. These states ban the act of inputting information into the device while driving, but allow the GPS to be affixed to the dashboard or windshield while in transit.

If you or a member of your family has been involved in an automobile accident that resulted from distracted driving, contact Alexander Law Group, LLC. Our exceptional personal injury lawyers will be sure you get the maximum compensation possible. Call 888.777.1776, or contact us online.

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