Many drivers in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley claim that Waze is the best invention since sliced bread. Waze is an app with 40 million registered users that shares real-time traffic and road info, with the goal of saving everyone time and gas money on their daily commute. Google bought the Israel-based app in 2013 for $1 billion, plus $100 million in employee retention and incentives.
Map apps and distracted driving
Waze is a lifeline for many So Cal drivers who want to avoid hours of traffic and frustration (read abut a recent case of road rage gone very bad here). For example, if someone is stuck in traffic due to a car accident, they will report their observation which in turn allows other users to view and plan their drive accordingly. The app also updates a user’s route based on current traffic conditions.
While a California judge has ruled that looking a smartphone map is akin to looking at a paper map while driving and is not against the law (unlike texting and driving), it does not mean that a smartphone map user may not be paying closer attention to the map on his phone than the other cars on the road. This is known as distracted driving and if you or a loved one are injured by a distracted driver, you may be able to file a claim to recover financial damages for harm done. Just consider the frightening amount of time it takes a driver to unlock their phone, open the app, share their observations of current road conditions… This is more than a few seconds of a driver’s eyes off the road, and as an auto accident victim in the San Fernando Valley can attest, it only take a second or two for an accident to occur.
As we have shared, the use of traffic maps on a smartphone may lead to unintended consequences. For example, there is a very good chance that someone who spots an accident or a police officer will quickly take their eyes off the road order to post their observations on Waze. Another example of a potential car crash could come when the map updates the driver’s route, telling the driver to take a last minute left or right hand turn. The driver, not wanting to miss the app’s directions and/or sit in traffic longer than necessary, may swerve across a few lanes in order to make that tight turn. If your car was in the lane next to the negligent driver, you could get hurt.
Map apps take driver’s attention away from the road
Distracted driving is one of the deadliest and most common causes of car accidents. With over 600,000 vehicles being driven by someone using a hand-held device, and perhaps not paying as close attention to the road as safety calls, driving can be dangerous. Just ask the more than 420,000 people who were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident due to a distracted driver, you contact an experienced San Fernando Valley personal injury attorney to help you protect your rights. You may be entitled to compensation for your damages due to the fault of another driver. Contact attorney Barry P. Goldberg today to learn more.