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iPad while driving? Seriously?

February 15, 2011 by Steven M. Gursten

Apple iPad 2 is expected to be released by the end of February, car accident attorney stresses dangers of using this device behind the wheel

As a car accident attorney, I’ve helped lots of people injured in preventable car crashes caused by distracted drivers. I’ve blogged extensively about the importance of not texting and driving, talking on cell phones while driving, even watching movies while driving (actual case). Just when I thought I’ve seen it all, today I spoke with someone who was rear-ended by someone who was using his iPad while driving!

Folks, this is not exactly a hidden danger. Do we really need to use an iPad when we are behind the wheel?

Michigan has just passed a texting while driving ban. Science has shown that texting while driving increases the chance of being in a car accident by 23 percent. Many people have been injured and killed over a pointless text. That’s also why I oppose the the recent trend by car makers, including Chrysler, to install computers in vehicles. Do we really need more reasons to take our eyes off the road?

Since the Apple iPad 2 is expected to be released any day now, I’d like to discuss the rather obvious dangers of using this device while you are driving. As my client from this morning shows, being obvious doesn’t mean it isn’t going to happen.

First, in terms of products that make me want to grab someone by the collar and say “what are you thinking?” there is now an actual iPad steering wheel mount. It actually lets you use your iPad while driving. Now, in fairness, there is also discussion that this might be a hoax, but if it is one, it won’t be for long. That’s what I thought about movies, until I started noticing drivers hooking up center video consoles to show movies while they drive, too. Either way, let’s not put it in people’s heads that it’s a “safer” way to use the iPad while driving — ever.

And according to this blog by Gigaom, social networked cars are the future of connected vehicles. In other words, University of Michigan students completed a project installing computers in vehicles to facilitate social networking. The screens were accessible by the driver and provided Internet access and interaction with other drivers so as to plan road trips, track fuel usage and report traffic issues.

Obvious danger or not, the use of mobile computers and iPads while driving is just going to spread unless steps are taken to prohibit them now, just as laws are being instituted across the country (including Michigan), to ban texting while driving. Otherwise, more people will continue to be injured and killed in car accidents – because of distracted drivers and the technology – like the Apple iPad 2 – they love to play with.

By the way, the iPad 2 looks incredible.

Steven M. Gursten is recognized as one of the nation’s top accident attorneys handling car and truck accident personal injury cases and auto insurance No-Fault litigation. He writes extensively about distracted driving and auto accident law and is available for comment.

Related information:

Starting 2011 off with important car safety resources

Is using my Bluetooth illegal with Michigan’s new texting while driving ban?

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