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(c) 2014 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Apple Is Moving Distracted Driving Into High Gear

Transportation accidents account for a high proportion of work-related fatalities, and Apple's announcement with week of increasing the access of iCar-Technology into the automobile is raising serious concerns among safety lobbyists.

Workers' compensation insurance companies in co-ordination with the US Department of
IOS in the Car
Heavy Integration Announced
at Apple Conference
Transportation (DOT) have made major efforts over the last few years to target distracted driving as a major safety issue to avoid serious accidents and ultimately save lives and reduce insurance costs. The DOT reports, "Distracted driving is a dangerous epidemic on America's roadways. In 2011 alone, over 3,000 people were killed in distracted driving crashes."

As of June 2013, 41 state, the District of Columbia, and Guam ban text messaging for all drivers. Also, 11 states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands, prohibit all drivers from using handheld phones while driving.


While the DOT initiated a regulator campaign against distracted driving, the US workers' compensation has yet to regulate claims by barring them aas it has done with offense such as intoxication and driving under the influence of regulated substances.
  • President Obama issues an Executive Order in 2009 directing Federal employees not to engage in texting while driving. 
  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) banned commercial truck and bus drivers from texting while driving in September 2010, and later banned all hand-held cell phone use by commercial drivers in November 2011.
  • In February 2011, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) banned texting on electronic devices by drivers operating a motor vehicle containing hazardous materials, in conjunction with the proposed FMCSA ban.
  • he Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) banned rail employees from using cell phones or other electronic devices on the job following a September 2008 Metrolink crash in Chatsworth, California that killed 25 people.
  • After a Northwest flight crew distracted by a laptop overshot their destination by 150 miles, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) advised air carriers to create and enforce policies that limit distractions in the cockpit and keep pilots focused on transporting passengers safely.
Apple announced this week. to the dismay of safety experts,  that new features will allow its new operating system, IOS7, to integrate iPhones and iPads into new cars in 2014. The system will literally replace the vehicle's original equipment manufactured (OEM) and replace it with Apples infotainment and navigation systems.

The NY Times reports, "As concerns have intensified about driver distraction from electronic gadgets, automakers have increasingly introduced voice-activated systems that allow drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. But a new study says that the most advanced of these systems actually create a different, and worse, safety risk, by taking a driver’s mind, if not eyes, off the road."

Even though workers' compensation programs are generally no-fault programs,  they will have to balance the serious safety risks of compensating distracted driving caused accidents against the public interest concerns of maintaining a safe work environment. While Apple has announced a bold step forward to bring enhanced distracted driving to motor vehicles, legislators will need to review and regulate these adventures into distracted driving either further.

Read more about "distracted driving" and workers' compensation.
May 29, 2013
Transportation accidents rank on the top of the list for worker fatalities. Now the federal government is attempting to reduce that number by restricting distractions while driving.driving. Voluntary guidelines reduce ...
Feb 16, 2012
The announcement of the guidelines comes just days after President Obama's FY 2013 budget request, which includes $330 million over six years for distracted driving programs that increase awareness of the issue and ...
Apr 18, 2011
OSHA has announced an aggressive program to combat "The Number 1 Killer of Workers," Distracted Driving. The announcement was made today by Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor of the Occupational ...
Sep 07, 2011
The New England Journal of Medicine reports that the activism against driving while intoxicated is beginning to be mirrored in distracted driving crashes. This parallel will probably cause workers' compensation courts and ...
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