Do Video Games Increase the Risk of Distracted Driving Accidents?

April 5, 2022

Do Video Games Increase the Risk of Distracted Driving Accidents?

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, the rate of distracted driving accidents has only gone up due to the prevalence of smartphones and social media, which entice drivers to read and type on their phones while on the road. However, vehicles themselves are providing another potential distraction for drivers. Many new models of cars are equipped with tablet-like infotainment screens that have many features beyond simply offering navigation or controlling vehicle functions. This trend was pioneered by automaker Tesla, whose vehicles have massive infotainment screens that even offer internet browsing and video gaming capabilities.

Tesla Vehicles Allow Occupants to Play Video Games on the Infotainment Screen

Recently, Tesla updated the software for its Model 3 vehicle to allow occupants to play video games on the vehicle’s infotainment screen while the vehicle is moving. Prior to this update, the infotainment screen would only allow video games to be played when the Model 3 was in park. If the vehicle was put into drive or reverse, the infotainment system would disable the video games. However, the new update instead merely brings up a notification screen to confirm that the player is not the driver. By tapping a button labeled “I am a passenger,” an occupant of a Model 3 can play the infotainment system’s video games while the car is moving. Of course, this step does nothing to prevent the driver from tapping the button and playing games while on the road. 

Dangers of Distracted Driving

Playing a video game on a vehicle infotainment screen obviously constitutes a serious distraction for a driver. This poses an extreme risk of an accident. While driving at highway speeds, a vehicle can travel the length of a football field or more even when a driver only takes their eyes off the road for just a few seconds. However, studies have shown that even with a brief distraction, it can take a driver up to 40 seconds to fully refocus on the task of driving. 

Distractions and Pedestrian Accidents

Unfortunately, video games on mobile phones are also a cause of many pedestrian accidents. Pedestrians busy playing games on their phones may be completely oblivious to their surroundings, especially if they are wearing headphones. This makes it more likely that a pedestrian may cross the street against a “don’t walk” signal or step right in front of an oncoming vehicle. 

Liability for Distracted Driving Accidents

Drivers have a legal duty to operate their vehicles in a safe manner. Safe driving requires a motorist to devote their full attention to the task of driving. A driver who is distracted while playing a video game, texting or emailing on a mobile phone, or by some other behavior may be held liable if they get into an accident while distracted. 

However, driver complaints about the new feature of the Tesla Model 3 lead to the question of an auto manufacturer’s liability for an accident. Manufacturers also have a duty to ensure that their products are safe and not unreasonably dangerous.

Contact a Pittsburgh Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Motor Vehicle Accident Case in Pennsylvania

Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a motor vehicle accident in Pennsylvania? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Goodrich & Geist, P.C. represent clients injured because of motor vehicle accidents in Pittsburgh and the surrounding Western PA counties. Call (412) 766-1455 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 3634 California Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15212. Home visits can be arranged in certain situations. 

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.