Rittgers & Rittgers, Attorneys at Law
Get Your Consultation Today

Taking responsibility for distracted drivers

Drivers are responsible for their conduct behind the wheel. If a driver causes an accident while texting or posting on Facebook, he or she should be held liable for any injuries that result. Driver responsibility does not necessarily mean that the makers of cell phones bear no responsibility for their obvious contribution to distracted driving, however. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration recently passed a set of voluntary guidelines aimed at pushing the makers of mobile phones and other electronic devices to implement changes to prevent distracted driving accidents.

An imperfect compromise

The NHTSA's proposal drew criticism from safety advocates and people in the electronics industry. Some say that the voluntary guidelines can and will be ignored by an industry unconcerned with distracted driving deaths. Industry leaders claim that the NHTSA is overreaching and has no business setting terms for products that are not motor vehicle equipment. No safety measure is likely to please everyone, however, so the important thing to consider is whether the guidelines will reduce fatal car accidents. 

The guidelines

The Department of Transportation is trying to reduce the level of distraction faced by drivers. The guidelines call on the makers of cell phones and cell phone apps to make the devices pair more easily with vehicle infotainment systems. These systems are motor vehicle equipment and fit easily within the purview of the NHTSA. The guidelines also call for devices to have a Driver Mode, which would make operating the phone simpler by increasing the size of the display and disabling certain functions that are too complex for someone to attempt while driving.

A dangerous message?

The NHTSA press release reiterated the position that distraction-free driving is safe driving. Yet the guidelines clearly acknowledge, and arguably condone, behaviors that are not conducive to safe driving. A simplified interface does not prevent distracted driving. If a person is looking at a cell phone, he or she is not looking at the road. Humans can focus on driving or working their phones, not both. In this case, a half-measure might be more dangerous than none at all.

Source: The Seattle Times, "Feds urge phone makers to lock some apps while car is on move," by Todd Shields and Alan Levin, 23 November 2016 

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
  1. Distinguished AV | LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell | Peer Review Rated For Ethical Standards and Legal Ability
  2. Super Lawyers
  3. AVVO Rating 10.0 Superb
  4. Super Lawyers Rising Stars
  5. Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  6. Multi Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  7. The National Trial Lawyers | Top 100 Trial Lawyers
  8. The National Trial Lawyers | Top 40 Under 40

Get Your Consultation Today. Call 513-932-2115.

Rittgers & Rittgers answers its phones 24/7. Call us anytime to secure your consultation with one of our award-winning lawyers. You can rely on us for elite representation from our deliberately small, family-run law firm.

Lebanon Office
12 East Warren Street
Lebanon, Ohio 45036

Phone: 513-932-2115
Fax: 513-934-2201
Lebanon Law Office Map

Cincinnati Office
312 Walnut St., Suite 1600
Cincinnati, OH 45202

Phone: 513-932-7375
Cincinnati Law Office Map

Oxford Office
121 West High Street
Oxford, OH 45056

Phone: 513-524-5000
Fax: 513-524-5001
Oxford Law Office Map

Email Us Today

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Email Us Today