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Researchers study technology's effect on drivers

The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that over 37,000 people died on America's roads in 2017, a 10 percent increase from three years earlier. Many drivers in West Palm Beach might think the increase is due to more smartphone use as well as the introduction of automated technology. While research has not shown this to be definite, the link seems obvious.

Companies like Nauto, a provider of smart cameras for fleet vehicles, have conducted their own studies and found how prevalent distracted driving is. Others, like Agero, a maker of vehicle safety and roadside assistance systems, have analyzed the effect of automated technology on drivers' attention. Agero found that drivers aged 17 to 22 use their smartphones for 12 percent of the time they're behind the wheel.

Another study, conducted by researchers at the University of Utah, focused on infotainment systems on five different vehicles. The 64 participants who drove in these vehicles were asked to use the various features; they were also asked to run interfaces like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay from their smartphone. The phone interfaces were less demanding on drivers' attention but were still far from perfect. Android Auto balanced drivers' cognitive loads better when they were entering destinations while CarPlay made them less distracted when they were sending text messages, so the amount of distraction varies with each feature.

When drivers incur a personal injury because of another's distracted behavior, they may wish to file a claim against that person's auto insurance company. They will need to prove that the defendant was negligent, which is why they might want to hire a lawyer for the filing process. Personal injury lawyers may have teams of professionals who can gather evidence like phone records and eyewitness testimony. They may be able to handle all negotiations on their clients' behalf, litigating only if an agreement cannot be made.

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