New mobile technology and automated features provide drivers with more and more distractions. New Mexico residents who are worried about the increasing number of distracted drivers on the road may be interested in some of the most recent studies about the trend.

The U.S. Department of Transportation states that 37,150 people died on America’s roads in 2017. This was a 10 percent increase from the year-end count in 2014. While there is no definitive link between this and advances in technology, experts strongly suspect a connection. Nauto, a company specializing in smart cameras for fleet vehicles, reviewed the severe collisions that occurred over a four-month period and found that two-thirds were caused by distracted driving.

Agero, a provider of roadside assistance programs, suggests that drivers aged 17 to 22 are most susceptible to distraction; they spend roughly 12 percent of their driving time with a phone in front of them. At MIT, researchers have been studying the effect of automated features like Tesla’s Autopilot on driver behavior.

Lastly, AAA has an analysis that focuses on built-in infotainment systems. Sixty-four participants driving five different vehicles were asked to use the features on these systems in addition to interfaces like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Researchers found that the interfaces that run off a smartphone were less distracting.

When distracted driving leads to an auto accident, it will most likely be mentioned in the police report. A victim who believes they have a valid claim can consult with a lawyer. Legal counsel can bring in experts to obtain a copy of the police report and conduct an investigation.