Mississippi drivers who are daydreaming might be as dangerous than drivers who are on their cellphones according to a study by Erie Insurance. The study looked at nationwide data in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and the reasons determined by law enforcement for fatal car accidents.
Erie Insurance found that around 10 percent of fatalities happened because of distracted driving, and in more than 60 percent of those cases, at least one person was just not paying attention. By comparison, 14 percent of people who were distracted by their cellphones. It is difficult to tackle the issue of drivers' minds wandering because driving is a monotonous task.
Unfortunately, while autonomous cars are expected to eliminate many of the accidents that occur because of human error, it is likely that semi-autonomous cars will first become more common, and these may present even more challenges for drivers. According to Bloomberg, the attention of Tesla Autopilot drivers tends to wander even more than drivers in conventional vehicles despite alerts that try to keep the driver's attention on the road. Some companies hope to include eye-tracking software that will monitor the alertness of drivers.
If a driver is at fault in an accident that causes death or injury to passengers or other drivers, that driver may be considered financially liable for the person's expenses. This could range from accidents caused by distraction to those caused because of speeding or drunk driving. If the driver's insurance company does not offer adequate compensation to the injured people, a lawsuit might be filed. The court will likely look at whether the driver was negligent. The burden of proof in a civil court may be lower than that of a criminal court, requiring that the victim's side present a preponderance of evidence rather than providing proof beyond a reasonable doubt.