Many people love to watch a television show or movie, which is a safe activity at home. But alarmingly, some people are choosing to watch videos while driving a vehicle, which can have tragic consequences.
According to a Gizmodo article, a woman in Arizona was killed after she was hit by a self-driving Uber vehicle. The operator of the vehicle was streaming a reality show when the crash occurred, cellphone data revealed. Police reports state the car accident was “entirely avoidable.” If the operator in the vehicle had been paying attention, the accident likely would not have occurred.
The crash illustrates why it’s critically important for drivers to stay alert behind the wheel – even as technology brings us into an age of self-driving vehicles. According to the Gizmodo article, the technology on the Uber vehicle failed to detect that a woman was walking across the street with her bicycle.
“The driver in this case could have reacted and brought the vehicle to a stop 42.61 feet prior to the pedestrian,” according to law enforcement documents cited in the Gizmodo report.
Accidents on the road in which watching movies or TV shows play a role have become more common due to changing technology. Forty-seven states have created laws prohibiting drivers from texting behind the wheel, which has long been a problem. Now, smartphones allow easy access to a favorite TV show or movie – and that has prompted some states to look at revising the laws.
According to USA Today, Georgia became the most recent state to prohibit drivers from streaming videos on their phones while they’re behind the wheel. Washington State’s Driving Under the Influence of Electronics (DUIE) Act took effect in July 2017.
As the Arizona Uber accident shows, the combination of driving and watching videos can lead to tragedy. Similar accidents have happened closer to home. PennLive reports that a motorcyclist was killed and his passenger was injured on Interstate 81 in 2017 by an alleged distracted truck driver. According to police, the driver was watching a football game on his phone while operating a commercial vehicle.
We support stronger laws designed to save lives. But whether they’re specifically required to do so by law or not, drivers need to put down their phones and focus on the road.
If you or a loved one was injured or a loved one was killed by a distracted driver, contact the Pennsylvania car accident lawyers at Marcus & Mack for a free consultation. You may be entitled to compensation for your losses.