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Do Heads-Up Displays Make Smartphone Use in Cars Safer?

By The Law Office of WT Johnson on August 13, 2014

Experienced Texas car accident attorneys have long known that smartphone use in cars is a leading cause of distracted driving accidents, often resulting in death and serious injury to motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Most U.S. states have responded to these risks by limiting smartphone use in cars, and both tech companies and auto manufacturers have tried to find ways to reduce the risks while still making the phones’ features available to customers.

Now, San Francisco-based tech company Navdy is marketing a heads-up display (HUD) that the company claims will aid in attempts to make smartphone access safer for drivers. The company plans to put the devices in stores in 2015. But researchers say that the evidence demonstrating that these devices are “safer” is shaky at best.

Navdy’s promotional materials for its new HUD compare the device to the ones used in aircraft, arguing that because pilots use HUDs, they are safe for car drivers to use, too. But in a 2004 NASA study, researchers found that the improved efficiency of information delivery a HUD offers is offset by the device’s capacity to distract aircraft pilots and reduce their peripheral vision.

Similarly, a 2007 study from the Munich University of Technology and automaker BMW found mixed results. The devices did seem to make certain tasks, like navigation, more efficient. But drivers using the HUDs were significantly worse at accurately predicting how close their vehicle was to objects in front of them – a mistake that can easily cause a rear-end crash.

As always, the safest course of action when you drive is to put your smartphone away completely until the vehicle is safely parked. By taking this one simple step, you may save lives and prevent a crash. The Texas legal team at The Law Offices of W.T. Johnson wants to remind every motorist to drive responsibly.

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Posted in: Distracted Driving

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