You probably don’t think much about it, but getting in your car and turning onto a busy road or interstate is one of the single most dangerous things you do every single day. While you may be responsible and aware of your surroundings, the drivers around you may be distracted. Not only does that put them at risk, but it poses a direct threat to your life.
Technology: The Cause of Distracted Driving
When you look at accidents on American roadways, distracted driving is one of the leading causes of serious injuries and fatalities. From motorcyclists talking on the phone to truck drivers playing with the radio dial, technology often causes drivers to take their eyes off the road and put themselves and others in compromising situations.
In 2015 alone, more than 391,000 people were injured and 3,477 people were killed as a result of distracted driving. Teenagers were involved in many instances, but it’s not just young people texting on their phones. Adults, professional drivers, and everyone in between are to blame.
While many states have banned the use of mobile phones while driving, it’s done little to curb accidents. As data shows, “In states that ban all handheld mobile phone use, drivers spend an average of 3.17 minutes on the phone per 100 miles of driving, compared with 3.82 minutes in states that have no such laws. In states that ban the use for drivers who are under the age of 18, the average is 3.25 minutes.”
Clearly, technology is a problem and often leads to preventable auto accidents. There is, however, a bright light at the end of this dark tunnel. While it’ll take time to get there, it appears as if new technology that could reduce the frequency of distracted driving is on the way.
Technology: The Solution to Distracted Driving
Technology is sophisticated enough to prevent distracted driving, so it’s refreshing to see companies finally pouring the money and energy into developing solutions for this heartbreaking problem.
Cell phone blocking apps are one technology of interest. “Cell phone blocking technology is most often an app for smartphones and is available from wireless services and companies that specialize in these apps,” the National Safety Council explains. “The most basic technologies prohibit calls or texts while a vehicle is in motion. More advanced systems are capable of blocking audio features, and tracking speed and sudden stops. Many send text or email notifications, providing helpful information for parents of teen drivers.”
One of the more advanced “blocking” technologies is Drive ID by Cellcontrol. This solar-powered device mounts to the windshield of the car under the rearview mirror and has an accompanying app that’s downloaded to the driver’s phone. The device is unique in that it doesn’t just block incoming texts, calls, and emails on phones in the car. It can actually detect who is driving and who is not – only shutting off alerts for the driver.
“Because of where it is in the vehicle, it actually creates zones,” says Jesse Hoggard, VP of marketing at Cellcontrol. “So we can create driver zone versus passenger zone, and then it uses that field and our Bluetooth connection to the phone itself to know where those phones are and where they move in the vehicle.”
Changing the Narrative
For years, technology has only been seen as the problem. Thankfully, savvy tech companies are starting to change the narrative by making technology the solution to distracted driving. It’ll take some time – and cell phones will always distract to an extent – but it’s good to know that things are moving in a positive direction for once.