Distracted driving is a scourge on our roads and results in thousands of accidents every year. According to insurance industry statistics, distracted driving resulted in 3,477 deaths and 391,000 injuries in 2015 – more injuries than were caused by drunk driving!
And yet, carmakers and technology makers are making it easier and easier to drive distracted.
Case in point: Automaker GM announced last December that they’re launching their Marketplace app that – get this – allows drivers to shop while driving.
Specifically, the app will let drivers order coffee, pay for gas, order donuts from Dunkin’ Donuts, reserve a table at a restaurant, and do other things as the app expands and takes in more providers.
This feature comes standard on any 2017 and 2018 model vehicle that has their MyLink infotainment system, which works through a touchscreen embedded in the dash like most modern vehicles.
By the end of 2019, roughly four million Marketplace-equipped vehicles will be on the roads – the same roads we use to transport our families.
This new app may be “convenient” and a “game-changer,” but it’s also a menace. Distracted driving by texting or using apps and other in-car technology is, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “an activity on par with the effects of tiredness or alcohol.”
In the five seconds that it can take to use this app, your car can travel the entire length of a football field if it’s going 55 miles per hour. That’s incredibly dangerous.
Of course, just because an app is available doesn’t mean everyone will use it while driving. But it’s foolish to think that many drivers won’t ever use this app while their car is in motion – it’s too powerful of a temptation. Drivers can’t stop texting, so what makes us think they’d refrain from doing this?
Other similar apps are disabled while the car is in motion, but GM decided to not take that route. We feel this is a mistake. We should be reducing the amount of distracting technology in our vehicles, not adding to them. A car’s purpose is to transport you from point A to point B – not to “entertain” or make things more “convenient.” Anything that increases the chances of a fatal accident should be avoided and not enabled.
Drivers, be careful out there on the roads. If you have a late-model GM vehicle with this technology, don’t even allow the update – you can refuse to install it. Avoid the temptation altogether by not allowing it in your vehicle.
Together, we can make the roads safer if we focus on driving and cut out all the distractions – no matter how convenient they may be.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, don’t hesitate to contact a car accident attorney. Your family’s livelihood could be at stake.