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AI may be the answer to distracted driving

Minnesota residents should know that distracted driving is on the rise. While this trend is mostly due to the increasing use of smartphones and dashboard touchscreens, the truth is that anything that takes a driver's attention from the road is distracting. That includes talking with passengers, eating and changing radio stations. Distracted driving is behind nine crash-related deaths and 100 crash-related injuries every day in the U.S.

The problem is not lack of awareness; most drivers who distract themselves know it's wrong. For this reason, automakers and researchers are looking to artificial intelligence for a solution. If AI is incorporated into cameras and sensors, it could help automakers develop alerts for all kinds of distractions. Software algorithms may even advance to where they predict all possible human behavior.

Automakers know that alerts by themselves don't register with some drivers, who ignore it as white noise. Automakers are pondering ways to get around this, such as by having the radio turn off to let the alert come through and by changing the color of the dashboard background.

There's the possibility that an alert system enhanced by AI can react to distractions by taking control of the vehicle and braking or steering for the driver. The hope is to build cars that can be described as "distraction cognizant."

When distracted drivers cause auto accidents, they should be held liable for any injuries incurred on the other side. In Minnesota, victims can be reimbursed for damages if their degree of fault is equal to or less than the defendant's. Of course, any degree of fault will lower the amount that victims can recover. To ensure a reasonable settlement with the insurance companies, victims may consider hiring a lawyer. The lawyer might bring in investigators in the effort to prove the other's negligence.

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