Distracted driving crashes claimed 3,166 lives in 2017 nationwide, which was about 8% of all the traffic fatalities that year. Drivers in Kentucky can become distracted by any number of things, including their phones, their navigation systems, food and conversations with passengers. There is technology that can react to driver distraction by adjusting the seat and climate controls, among other things, to re-focus the driver, but this may not be enough to combat it.

A growing problem has to do with semi-autonomous vehicles. The features on these vehicles can adjust braking and steering automatically for drivers, but they are only meant to assist drivers, not replace them. Unfortunately, many drivers overestimate the abilities of these features and become complacent behind the wheel. They feel they can distract themselves, thinking that the car will keep them out of danger.

This is how many people wind up developing unsafe driving habits. At the very least, semi-automated vehicle features slow down drivers’ reaction times; the Journal of Safety Research reported this in one study.

Other problems plague semi-automated vehicle tech. The AI programs on these cars can lag behind for a second or two when faced with so many possible outcomes in a given driving situation, and this can lag can spell danger at high speeds. Faulty cameras and sensors can fail to prevent collisions, too.

Distracted drivers may be held liable for any car accidents they cause because they were manifestly negligent. Kentucky follows the rule of pure comparative negligence, so those who are injured by a distracted driver can file a claim regardless of their own degree of fault. If they did contribute to the crash, then whatever amount they recover in damages will be proportionally lowered. With a lawyer, victims may be able to achieve a fair amount in damages through negotiations or litigation.