The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that over 37,000 people died on America’s roads in 2017: a more than 10 percent increase from 2014. Residents of North Carolina should know that there are many experts out there who believe that distracted driving is behind much of the rise in deaths and that the primary factor in distracted driving is new technology.

In a AAA-funded study, researchers at the University of Utah had 64 participants use the infotainment systems on five different vehicles while driving. The participants than did the same with interfaces that run off a smartphone. Researchers found that the latter was less distracting but still unsafe. All the interfaces demanded at least a moderate amount of attention from drivers, which meant less attention paid to the road.

This is just one of many studies to come to such a conclusion. Currently, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are conducting a multi-year study where, by way of sensors and cameras, they analyze how drivers are influenced by semi-autonomous features like Tesla’s Autopilot.

Data from Agero, a provider of roadside assistance systems, shows that drivers aged 17 to 22 are most susceptible to distractions. These drivers use their smartphones for a full 12 percent of their time behind the wheel. As for reversing the trend, the above studies agree that there is no single solution.

Drivers remain responsible for keeping their vehicles under control, so when they cause car accidents out of negligence, they will be liable for the other’s injuries and financial losses. Victims can file a third-party insurance claim, and with the proper legal assistance, they may be awarded a fair settlement out of court. The lawyer might be able to handle all negotiations without being discouraged by the auto insurance company’s aggressive tactics; as a last resort, the victim and lawyer may decide to prepare for litigation.