Road safety has always been a major concern in the US, but the roads of America have become a lot more dangerous these past few years, and distracted drivers are a big part of the problem. In 2015 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention presented a report that detailed how, 3, 477 people were killed and 391,000 were injured in accidents involving a distracted driver.
Driven to Distraction published by the American Psychological Association explains that cell phone use while behind the wheel is one of the major causes of road accidents. The article explains that cell phone use is “associated with a four-fold increase in the odds of getting into an accident” because using a cell phone diverts a driver’s attention away from the road, and worse, compromises their driving skills. Even in-car technologies such as navigational displays and internet browsers are a cause for concern says the article. There are, of course, other distractions that have nothing to do with technology such as applying makeup, eating, and even reading.
Steps are now being taken to mitigate the deadly effects of distracted driving, and fittingly, technology is being implemented to keep drivers from getting distracted behind the steering wheel. These five innovations are all aiming to reduce distracted driving and make the roads of America much safer.
1. Hands-free connectivity – Bluetooth and similar technologies have been around for years, and these allow drivers to manage their phones without taking their hands off the steering wheel. These technologies are continuously being improved, and they are giving drivers a greater deal of control over their gadgets.
2. Apps against distracted driving – Cellular phone providers are now offering apps especially for drivers. These apps can send a pre-configured response—such as “I’m driving. I’ll get back to you later” for example—to text messages. It can also let the user interact easily with navigation systems like Waze or stream music with a single press of a button. USA Today writer Jennifer Jolly recommends DriveMode, which is available for both Android and iPhone.
3. Apps that can shut down phones – Jolly also notes that there are certain apps like tXt Blocker are perfect for parents with teen drivers. Such apps can be pre-configured to completely shut down a phone when the user is driving. It can also track teens while driving, with reports on how safely they are driving available as well.
4. Built-in driver assistance in vehicles – Car manufacturers themselves are now trying to address the issue of distracted driving by manufacturing vehicles with technologies such as forward collision and lane departure warning systems, autonomous emergency braking, and blind spot detection.
5. Electronic logging devices – This December a mandate that requires all commercial vehicles to be installed with an Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) will come into force. The ELD mandate is designed to stop commercial drivers illegally exceeding their Hours of Service, which in turn could lead to increased distraction through overdriving. Fleetmatics state that companies and drivers who do not comply will be heavily fined and possibly have their licenses revoked. The improved enforcement of Hours of Service will reduce the number of accidents involving commercial vehicles.
As these innovations show, there is no excuse for distracted driving. Here on Safe Rides we also state how easy it is to hire services that make it easy to avoid distracted driving. At the end of the day, though, drivers themselves hold the key to eradicating distracted driving.
Exclusively written for Safe Rides