Some Apps Offer Solutions to Prevent Distracted Driving
State Farm recently released information from its distracted driving survey, which found that fewer people talk on the phone while driving, but the advent of smartphone technology has led many drivers to read, text, Tweet, and chat message while driving.
A writer for TechCrunch laments the “Pavlovian response” drivers have to their smartphones. She wrote that she has deal-finding apps downloaded to her iPhone, and they consistently make noise when she drives past stores and malls. She suggested built-in apps on the phone that would automatically silence app and text alert noises, even if the user forgets to put the phone on silent. Some third-party phone apps already discourage distracted driving by disabling texting or count the number of times you text while driving – which is illegal in most states.
The Harvard Center for Risk Analysis recently looked at distracted driving data and found that 1.6 billion vehicle accidents per year were the result of texting or messaging while driving. These accidents kill 11 teenagers per day, according to the research, and are as dangerous as driving after consuming four beers. The number of deaths caused by distracted driving from mobile phone use is higher than the number of deaths caused by running red lights. Worst of all, distracted driving is completely preventable – but drivers have to want to stop, so companies find they might need encouragement.
Automobile manufacturers are also looking at ways to prevent distracted driving. Many of these same companies have begun to build in touch screens and wireless connections so that the driver can hook their phone into their car, and talk or access apps while on the go. One automotive manufacturer, Ford, has recognized that this technology boom can encourage distracted driving even further, and the company says it has now partnered with mobile app developer Life360 to build in not just the GPS feature of the original app – which allows friends and family to track each other based on the phone’s GPS signal – but also to develop a “Driving Mode” for the vehicle version, which would text all the driver’s contacts when the car is on and inform them not to text while the vehicle is in motion. When the driver arrives at their destination and parks the car, the app would alert friends and family that the driver is available again – hopefully preventing the bemoaned Pavlovian response to phone noises by asking for community support against distracted driving.
At least 44 states have, so far, passed some form of distracted driving legislation. This year, South Carolina passed a statewide ban on texting and driving, although other forms of distracted driving are legal.
The Strom Law Firm Helps Those Injured by Distracted Drivers
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