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Apps can contribute to a distracted driver and cause a crash

Connecticut drivers and drivers across the nation must be aware of the various factors that can lead to a car accident. One of the newer causes of crashes is drivers using apps on their smartphones while behind the wheel. Several -- including Snapchat, Waze and Pokémon GO -- borderline encourage drivers to use them while driving. This, despite the known dangers of being a distracted driver and the damage it can cause. In the past, distracted driving was limited to drivers who were making calls and sending text messages. Now, with new alternatives, it has gotten worse.

In the past 40 years, the number of people who died in car accidents on the highway declined. However, 2015 had the highest rise in five decades.

The preliminary number for 2016 and its first six months showed an increase by 10.4 percent from the same period in 2015. This information comes from data accrued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Numerous cases serve as examples of the danger.

One person in Florida was recording a Snapchat video while driving 115 mph. There was a crash and five people died. Another incident in Georgia involved a person using Snapchat and traveling at more than 100 mph who crashed and caused serious injury to the other driver.

Attempts on the part of regulatory agencies, such as the Department of Transportation and the National Safety Council, are trying to reduce these deaths with a "Road to Zero" plan. New technologies, such as hands-free apps, can be used to stop drivers from removing their hands from the wheel to access their apps. But, this is still in its beginning stages.

It is not simply the physical action of using the smartphone while driving that is at issue. Drivers' minds can remain distracted even after they put the phone down, and this can last for a significant distance while on the road.

When there is a car accident, those who were injured or lost a loved one must know how and why it happened, so they can effectively pursue compensation in a legal filing. If it was due to a distracted driver who was using an app while behind the wheel, this is a key to the case. And, having legal help for an investigation from an attorney who is experienced in the causes of a car crash is one of the most important aspects to filing litigation.

Source: New York Times, "Biggest Spike in Traffic Deaths in 50 Years? Blame Apps," Neal E. Boudette, Nov. 15, 2016

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