GPS Systems and Distracted Driving Accidents

We have all heard the horrors of distracted driving and the horrendous accidents and toll on human life that car accidents caused by distracted driving have caused. New York State, like most other states in the USA has passed laws that make it illegal to use a cell phone while driving a car: either for phone calls or texting. If your eyes are on a three-inch screen in your hand, they aren’t on that 18 wheeler ahead of you that just slammed on his brakes and with which the front grill fo your car will in a few milliseconds become intimate with.

But automobile GPS systems are another matter entirely. GPS is built into our cars, it is stuck to the inside windshield of our cars, and most especially it is in the palm of our hands in the person of that smartphone that never leaves your side or your sight. And just as texting and driving equals death and dismemberment, so does that GPS system you rely on to get you to “Point B.”

There are uncounted car accidents each year that are caused by distracted driving. From combing your hair to yelling at your child to behave in the back seat, to taking that all important phone call, to staring at that GPS map to make sure you don’t miss your turn. In each case, the driver needs to take their eyes off the road and momentarily becomes unaware of their surroundings. And as many of us have learned the hard way, GPS systems are far from infallible. Who hasn’t used a GPS system to go somewhere only to end up in the middle of a corn field instead, for example.

And as GPS systems have become more ubiquitous, so have distracted driving accidents. And if using your GPS system, or talking on the phone, or texting a reply to that special someone causes you to be the cause of an accident that results in property loss, personal injury or worse, that is when the legal concept of negligence rears it’s ugly head. As the old admonition goes: “Don’t (fill int he blank) and drive.” It can be deadly.

Car Accident Liability and Negligence

Negligence happens when someone fails to exercise reasonable caution in a way that a responsible and prudent person should. And when there is a violation of a New York vehicle and traffic (V&T) law related to the use of a cell phone, GPS device or other such electronics, it is more than likely that that person will be found “negligent per se,” meaning that if the person in question was held to be in violation of a V&T safety statute, it is sufficient under New York law to establish negligence.

So here are one or two things worth remembering when using a GPS system in your car, whether it’s built into your dashboard or sitting on the seat next to you, cunningly disguised as an iPhone:

  • If you are going to use a GPS system to find your way to your destination, program that destination into your GPS before you leave your driveway. Don’t try to do it while you are driving your car.
  • If you get confused and need to consult your GPS, pull over safely and come to a complete stop. Just like texting and phone calls and disciplining the kids in the back seat, then and only then direct your attention to your GPS.
  • Make sure your GPS “talks” to you so you don’t have to look at it. Most modern cars have Bluetooth capabilities to link your phone to your car audio system.  If not, and you are using your phone, grab an earbud and put it in ONE ear (only).
  • Always (and we mean always) be aware of what is going on around you when you are driving. It only takes a split second for the world to turn upside down and change forever at 65 miles per hour.

Syracuse Car Accident Lawyers for Over 40 Years

If you have been hurt in a car accident through the negligence of another person, contact the Syracuse car accident lawyers at McMahon, Kublick & Smith to find out about your legal options and rights. Our car accident and Syracuse personal injury attorneys have been representing men and women who have suffered serious injuries and loss throughout the Syracuse and Central New York area for over 40 years. Whether you live in Syracuse or Penn Yan, Cortland or Dolgeville, Skaneateles or Red Creek, our car accident and Syracuse personal injury attorneys are only a simple phone call away. You can also contact us 24 hours a day by simply completing our Free Case Evaluation form, too.