Is Technology Making us Safer?

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  • New cars and trucks come equipped with more safety features every year. The safety features that made specific makes and models stand out a generation ago are required for new vehicles today. For example, tire pressure monitoring systems have only been required in new cars sold in the United States since 2008. Previously, this feature was only found in certain vehicle models.

    The purpose of these advancements is to prevent accidents and ultimately, prevent traffic injuries and deaths. For the most part, these efforts have been successful. But car accidents still happen. Many of these accidents are caused by drivers' dangerous behavior, such as using a cell phone while driving or failing to obey traffic laws.

    Cars are not the only area where safety features continually evolve. Children's toys and other products, guns, cooking apparatus, and construction materials have all been redesigned and reformulated over the decades to minimize their users' risk of injury.

    A False Sense of Security Leads to Greater Risks

    Despite the lowered number of fatalities, the number of traffic accidents in the United States each year has largely remained constant. This is often attributed to the Peltzman Effect, which is the theory that individuals adjust their risk intelligence to match the safety standards around them. In other words, as cars become better equipped to prevent accidents, drivers become less wary of hazards on the road.

    One of the main culprits for traffic accidents today is widespread cell phone use. As drivers rely on their smartphones to navigate for them and use their phones to talk and text while driving, they become less focused on the road and more likely to be involved in collisions. Text messaging while driving is illegal in most states, and many states have bans on talking on the phone while driving as well. As a driver, it is your responsibility to put the phone away when you drive. Consider purchasing a Bluetooth headset to use your phone hands-free while you are driving. Otherwise, pull over and park if you need to make a call or send a text message.

    Technology and Safety - There is Never Zero Risk of Injury

    Even after taking all necessary safety precautions, you can still be injured in a car or other type of accident. If this happens to you, you could be entitled to file a personal injury claim.

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