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Internet Access in Chrysler Cars is a Danger to Michigan Drivers

September 11, 2008 by Steven M. Gursten

On June 26, Chrysler introduced UConnect Web, a dealer-installed accessory which makes its vehicles a moving WiFi hotspot with Internet access. The personal injury lawyers at Michigan Auto Law believe this is a recipe for disaster for Michigan drivers.

Keefe Leung, a manager in a Chrysler technology group, said in published reports that the accessory is tailored for kids in the back seat.

But Chrysler’s Web site says, “the industry-first technology delivers uninterrupted, secure Internet connectivity for all passengers in and around the vehicle.” That means front seat occupants — including the drivers — are able to surf the net, as the signals aren’t confined to video systems in the rear seats.

Distracted Drivers Will Cause More Michigan Car Accidents

Drivers already fail to give their full attention to the road. Even worse than cruising while eating fast food, drinking coffee, changing CDs or applying makeup, they are gabbing on their cell phones, or checking e-mail and texting friends on the phones. There are a multitude of studies concluding that when drivers talk on cell phones, their chances of getting in an accident greatly increase. So some cities in Michigan like Southfield are enacting laws against cell phone use while driving.

What will happen now that Chrysler has added complete Internet access to the mix? Common sense says that UConnect Web will cause even more car and truck accidents on Michigan’s highways.

In helping countless car accident victims who have been seriously injured, our car accident lawyers realize that no one intends to hurt someone and cause a serious automobile accident. But people fail to use good judgment at all times, and technology and driver distraction play a leading role in causing accidents.

Looking at just one year’s score of national statistics makes for a grim wake-up call: According to the United States Department of Transportation, in 2006 there were 42,642 total fatalities from motor vehicle crashes, and 2.6 million people injured.

UConnect Web Good for Kids, but Adults Won’t Avoid Temptation

Regardless, Leung says in a video on Chrysler’s Web site, “People are connected in their lives everywhere today. They’re connected at home… at the office… at Starbucks when they get a cup of coffee. But the one place that they spend a lot of time that they’re not connected is in their vehicle. And we want to bring that to them.”

Used to quiet restless children in the backseat who want to download music, movies or games during long road trips, UConnect Web could be a Godsend to parents who need to drive in peace. But the reality is it’s highly unlikely that those parents and other drivers will avoid the temptation of using the Internet while driving — just like they don’t while typing in addresses on their GPS navigation systems.

With that, the attorneys at Michigan Auto Law believe UConnect Web is a bad idea all around that will cause a lot of automobile accidents. We advise drivers to hold on to their $449 and steer clear from the accessory.

If your kids are driving you crazy in the backseat, buy them a portable DVD player before hitting the road.

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