Kentucky Car Accident Lawyer Frank Jenkins Calls for Caution Regarding Voice-Activated Controls in Cars in Light of AAA Study of Driver Distractions

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The founder of the Frank Jenkins Law Office in Lexington says AAA’s conclusion that hands-free controls create a distraction for drivers that is comparable to drunk driving is cause for reassessing the appropriateness of some advanced in-car technology.

Lexington car accident attorney, Fayette County car wreck lawyer, Kentucky personal injury law firm, catastrophic injuries, wrongful death, fatalities, KY

Frank M. Jenkins III

Anything that takes a driver’s mind off of the road can easily lead to an accident. It is a mistake for auto manufacturers to add to driver distractions by increasing the number of voice-activated features in the cars and trucks they sell.

Lexington car accident lawyer Frank M. Jenkins III today urged Kentucky residents to support the American Automobile Association’s (AAA) call for investigating the need for fewer in-car distractions, including voice-operated controls, to be made available in new cars and trucks.

AAA released a study titled “Measuring Cognitive Distraction in the Automobile” earlier this month that says using voice controls and other hands-free technology in cars may be even more distracting than talking on a handheld cell phone, and in some cases, may be as dangerous as drunk driving.

“The simple truth is that driving a car is a demanding and risky task that requires the driver’s full attention to be done safely,” said Jenkins, founder of the Frank Jenkins Law Office.

“Anything that takes a driver’s mind off of the road can easily lead to an accident,” he said. “It is a mistake for auto manufacturers to add to driver distractions by increasing the number of voice-activated features in the cars and trucks they sell.”

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says in a news release accompanying the study that manufacturers are expected to create a five-fold increase in infotainment systems in new vehicles by 2018.

AAA’s research found that as mental workload and distractions increase, a driver’s reaction time slows, their brain function is compromised and they scan the road less, causing them to miss visual cues and potentially resulting in drivers not noticing what is right in front of them, including stop signs and pedestrians.

“Increasingly, car manufacturers and third-party providers are presenting consumers with options to make movie or dinner reservations, send and receive text or email messages, make postings on Facebook, interact with global position systems, and utilize voice commands for controlling functions of the vehicle,” AAA says.

“The lessons learned from the current research suggest that such voice-based interaction is not risk-free, and in some instances the impairments to driving may rise to the level associated with drunk driving,” the study says.

Jenkins said his law firm is concerned about AAA’s conclusion that the increased use of voice-based systems in cars may have unintended consequences that adversely affect traffic safety.

“We investigate car accidents on behalf of Kentucky residents who have been injured or lost loved ones every day, and we have increasingly found over the last several years that some kind of driver distraction, on its own or combined with another form of recklessness like speeding or drunk driving, played a role in the accident,” Jenkins said.

“Just because technology allows auto makers to offer something like voice-operated controls does not mean they should do it,” he said.

Jenkins said that if a driver has engaged in activity that creates a distraction and causes an accident, those who have been injured as a result deserve to be compensated for their losses.

“Even if a distracted driver was using a hands-free device, they may be held liable for the harm they have caused,” the veteran attorney said. “If you’ve been hurt in a crash, you should have an experienced car accident attorney like ours at the Frank Jenkins Law Office investigate the circumstances of your wreck and advise you of your options for pursuing a legal claim.”

About the Frank Jenkins Law Office

The Lexington personal injury attorneys of the Frank Jenkins Law Office handle injury and accident cases, including car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, wrongful death, workplace accidents, construction accidents and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s office is located at 631 East Main Street, Lexington, KY 40508. For more information, contact the Frank Jenkins Law Office today at (800) CAR-WRECK, locally at (859) 389-9344 or through the firm’s online contact form.

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