Greatest Increase in Traffic Deaths In Over 50 Years-Blamed On Distracted Driving-Texts, Apps, Games & Internet
On November 15, 2016, the New York Times reported that after decades of a decline in highway fatalities, "highway deaths jumped 10.4 percent, to 17,775" comparing the first six months of 2015 to the same period in 2016. Cars and roads are safer; however, there are more technologies that cause distracted driving. Distracted driving due to texting and cell phone usage resulted in laws that recognized the danger and imposed penalties. Newer technologies include the messaging app Snapchat, the navigation app Waze, the game Pokemon Go have led to a boom in internet use in cars that safety experts say is causing the surge in highway deaths.
According to a former head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Deborah Hersman, the new technologies available in late model cars allow people to use even more functions on their phones while driving. Freeing driver's hands to engage with even more technology, does not reduce driver distraction: "It's the cognitive workload on your brain that's the problem," according to Ms. Hersman.