For many drivers, especially teens, the temptation to text or talk on their phone while driving is just too much to resist. Most are aware of the dangers of distracted driving, but some choose to do it anyway. New technologies may help prevent this problem.
In 2010, almost 33,000 people lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents. According to estimates by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 3,000 of these deaths were caused by distracted driving.
Distracted driving can involve anything that takes the driver’s attention away from the task at hand: driving. This includes eating, adjusting the radio or GPS, or dealing with rowdy children. Talking on cellphones or texting while driving are two of the most frequent and dangerous distractions. These activities not only take a driver’s mind off of driving, but also usually involve a driver taking their hands off the wheel and eyes off the road.
Many technologies are now being used to block cellphone use while driving. Some examples include Cellcontrol and SecuraFone. With regard to Cellcontrol, the device’s “trigger” attaches to a vehicle’s diagnostic port and an accompanying app is installed on the cellphone. The owner, often a teen’s parent, may then set rules for how the phone can be used when the vehicle is in motion. They may restrict all use, only prevent texting, or only allow hands-free calling.
Cellcontrol’s senior vice president reported that one fleet user saw a 42 percent decrease in auto accidents after only allowing employees to use only hands-free calling.
Source: philly.com, “Tech Life: Curbing driver distractions,” Jeff Gelles, June 7, 2012.