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Artificial intelligence could reduce distracted driving crashes

Drivers in New Jersey and elsewhere love their cellphones and in-vehicle infotainment systems. Unfortunately, these devices are causing an increase in distracted driving accidents on U.S. roads.

According to the National Safety Council, around nine Americans are killed and an additional 100 others are injured in distracted driving crashes every day. These accidents are often caused by cellphones or other devices, but they can also be caused by distractions outside the vehicle, distractions caused by kids or pets, fatigue-related inattention, eating or playing with the radio while behind the wheel. To help reduce the risk of accidents, automakers have been offering collision avoidance and automatic emergency braking systems as options on new cars and trucks for many years. Starting in 2022, these technologies will come standard on all new vehicles.

However, auto engineers are also working on artificial intelligence, or AI, technologies that could potentially prevent drivers from becoming distracted or drowsy behind the wheel. AI systems use sensors and cameras to monitor and learn a driver's behavior patterns. It could then use this information to predict when a driver might become distracted or drowsy and send alerts, including flashing lights or vocal commands, to prevent a crash. The system could even learn what types of alerts are best for certain individuals, reducing the chances of a driver tuning out or ignoring the alert.

Drivers who cause accidents by texting and driving could face charges in criminal court. In addition, they could be sued for civil damages if anyone was injured in the crash. For instance, with the help of an attorney, an injured victim could file a personal injury lawsuit seeking compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, property loss, lost wages and other related damages.

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