Do navigation apps cause auto accidents?

If you have a smartphone, chances are that you have used it to navigate the roads in your own city or while traveling. Although using a navigational app on your phone is generally considered acceptable behavior, representatives from the Department of Transportation say that using these devices can be just as dangerous as texting behind the wheel. Although navigation technology has progressed, Tennessee residents may still be more likely to cause an auto accident when they use their phones while driving, no matter the reason.

In one recent California case, a man was able to dodge a distracted driving ticket because he was not actively using his cellphone while driving. Instead, the man said, he was simply holding the device and allowing it to give him navigation directions. In some cases, it is not clear whether it is appropriate to distinguish between that type of behavior and the use of an automated GPS system.

The Department of Transportation is prioritizing distracted driving, which officials say is a “deadly epidemic” that is causing injury and death almost every day. Experts say that drivers may be better-served to use integrated navigation systems that are installed in their vehicle rather than choosing to use hand-held equipment to navigate. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is working with industry leaders to provide safer navigation systems for the next generation of vehicles.

The fact remains that distracted drivers cause car accidents. Whether those people are using cellphones or GPS devices — or they are eating or disciplining their kids in the backseat — they are still endangering others. Victims who have been injured by distracted drivers deserve to be financially compensated for their medical costs and other associated expenses. Even if a distracted driver is not subject to a criminal citation, that person could still face civil liability because of their poor decision-making.

Source: CBS News, “Can using navigational apps be as dangerous as texting and driving?” June 27, 2014