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“App and Drive” – The New and Troubling Form of Distracted Driving

by John Gomez | Last Updated: August 3, 2016

Applications, or apps as they are now known worldwide, are dominating the attention span of people across the globe.  It would now seem there is an app for everything.  Apps are useful, they are fun and they are efficient.  There is also a downside, as all of these apps can be quite distracting.  That’s perhaps never more problematic than when someone is behind the wheel.  Given the prevalence of apps, it should not come as a huge surprise that “app and drive” is becoming a problem.  It seems that apps have joined cell phones, texting and other outlets as relatively new causes of distracted driving.  This is especially true and troubling among teen drivers, according to a study that was recently published, and this news comes in the midst of what is known as the “100 Deadliest Days” for teen drivers.

About the “App and Drive” Study

The study in focus here was released by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions, or SADD.  Researchers questioned teen drivers regarding what activities they partake in while they are behind the wheel of a vehicle.  Only 27 percent of those questioned admitted to texting while driving.  However, more than two-thirds, or 68 percent, admitted to using apps while on the road.  In addition, those teen drivers felt that using an app while driving was less dangerous than other behaviors including texting or being under the influence of alcohol.

A link to a description of the study can be found here.  To make matters potentially worse, the subjects were given what is known as incorporated implicit association testing, or IAT.  The drivers were provided with a range of different visual driving situations including texting, receiving phone calls and using apps and given keywords to associate with each.  What this mode of testing revealed was that while 95 percent of the teens verbally stated that using apps while driving was dangerous, more than three-quarters of them subconsciously viewed app use while driving as not distracting.

“App and Drive” and Distracted Driving

There are already several different theories emerging as to why the results played out the way they did.  One theory is that teens have had the dangers of driving under the influence and texting and driving drilled into them for years, while using apps while driving has not yet generated much awareness.  Another is that using apps for teens is so natural that they simply do not feel that immersing themselves in social media or music apps is risky behavior.

“App and Drive” and Parents

Parents of teen drivers should pay attention to this study, as its conclusions could prove to be very important.  If your teen admits to having his or her smartphone nearby while driving, they need to understand that it should be out of reach.  Using apps while driving is just as if not more distracting than texting, and distracted driving is clearly something everyone understands as a cause of a large number of car accidents.

Parents should also understand that distracted driving by their teenaged children could lead not only to harm to those young drivers, but to others as well.  Teens engaging in distracted driving and who cause car accidents that result in serious injuries or worse could lead to those parents facing substantial legal and financial liability.

If you or someone you love has been harmed because of distracted driving, you need to seek the help of San Diego personal injury lawyers who have been fighting for the rights of those wrongfully harmed for years.  Contact Gomez Trial Attorneys today to schedule a free initial consultation.

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