Ask the Auto Injury Lawyer: Are GPS Apps Helpful or Harmful?

woman in carDo you text and drive? No, no, you’ve seen the graphic PSA’s. Texting and driving is completely out of the question—but do you use your phone for navigation? Unless your car has a built in navigation system or you received a snazzy GPS for your birthday, the answer is probably, “Yes.”

We are living in a world where you can use your phone for just about anything—it only makes sense that we rely on them to get us from point A to point B. Long gone are the days of printing out directions the day before a road trip. It’s no wonder your map is hiding in the glove compartment gathering dust while revolutionary mobile applications are paving the way.

While these applications remove some of the hassles of commuting, this also means there is one more distraction while driving down the freeway. Not only do these phone apps have a soothing voice telling us when to turn left, but they also have interactive features meant to improve our ride.

For example, Waze, a navigational app using both GPS and crowd-sourcing, allows you to report accidents, alert other drivers to upcoming police patrol, and warn fellow drivers of impending slow downs.

The irony, though, is that while a driver is alerting another to the upcoming accident, they are actually putting themselves at risk for crashing their own car because they are preoccupied.

With disastrous car accidents due to distracted driving on the rise, the federal government is taking steps to eliminate these possibilities for distraction. In June, a $302 billion transportation bill was introduced to the House of Representatives.  The proposed bill includes a section that would give authority to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to regulate and possibly forbid the use of these navigation apps.

As car accident injury attorneys, the lawyers at McMenamin & McMenamin, PS want to know your opinion: should these helpful apps be regulated, or is this going too far?

Photo Credit: crimfants via Compfight cc

About Patrick McMenamin

Personal injury attorney Pat McMenamin grew up in Silverdale, Washington. He is an Eagle Member of the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association and was recently designated a “Rising Star Attorney” by Washington Law & Politics Magazine. Pat McMenamin's Google+ Profile

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