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Autonomous cars: Science-fiction or distracted driving solution?

As most Florida drivers are already aware, cellphone use while driving can be extremely hazardous and often fatal. In fact, lawmakers are considering a ban on texting while driving in an attempt to combat the dangers and make the roads safer for everyone. However, a ban can only go so far; some drivers will still selfishly choose to use their phones behind the wheel regardless of the law. Even for the most conscientious of drivers, it can be awfully tempting to take a quick glance at their phone screen.

Additionally, cellphones are far from being the only source of distraction for drivers. Talking with passengers, fixing makeup in a mirror or even tuning the radio station can all take a driver’s concentration off the road for long enough to result in a serious or deadly accident. So is anything being done to address this issue and help keep you and your loved ones safe on the streets of Tampa?

Current attempts

In 2015, distracted driving claimed the lives of almost 3,500 people. The main — though by no means only — source of this distraction behind the wheel seems to stem from cellphones. To that end, numerous efforts across the country are attempting to tackle this issue and minimize the inherent risks, including:

  • Laws in 47 states that make texting while driving illegal
  • Laws in 15 states that ban calls on handheld phones while driving
  • Apps that block text messages while driving or gadgets that prevent drivers from receiving calls or texts
  • Automobile interfaces that use navigation screen gestures to answer a call, or ones that read text messages aloud and allow the dictation of a response

However, none of these methods are foolproof, and neither have any demonstrated their efficacy in making a notable difference in the issue. Some people are hoping, though, that once a new technology becomes more mainstream and widespread, it could resolve the problemalmost entirely. The technology in question? Self-driving cars.

Self-driving cars

Though they may still sound like something out of a science fiction movie, self-driving automobiles may be the best — if not the only — method of combating distracted driving. Leading car manufacturers believe widespread autonomous driving is only approximately two years away, and that once companies begin exclusively manufacturing self-driving automobiles, traditional vehicles may disappear from the roads altogether in approximately 15 years.

This is especially good news given that the number of distractions is only continuing to rise, and smartphones and the numerous distractions they bring aren’t going away any time soon. Researchers believe that, as self-driving cars become increasingly common, the accident rate will immediately begin to drop, and that these autonomous automobiles will likely prevent a full 90 percent of all collisions nationwide.

In the meantime

Once these self-driving vehicles are commonplace, individuals will no longer have to ignore the siren call of their mobile devices. Unfortunately, while the technology exists, it’s still several years away from common usage, and that’s small consolation to any Florida residents who have suffered serious injury or even lost a loved one in a car accident with a distracted driver. In such tragic cases, there are professionals in the Tampa Bay area who can offer guidance and support in exploring legal options for just compensation.