Technology Solutions to Texting and Driving That Actually Work
When anyone is behind the wheel of a car, there is a wide range of things that can serve as a distraction. From that cup of coffee waiting to be sipped to the buttons on the radio, from the conversation with whoever is in the passenger seat to a billboard outside that catches the driver’s eye, there’s always something that can divert a driver’s attention away from the road. However, what’s one of the most problematic and prevalent distractions? Texting and driving.
With this problem affecting drivers everywhere, many companies are working to contribute technological solutions that can stop and prevent this distraction. Here’s a breakdown of how technology can help all of us do better behind the wheel:
Texting and Driving: The Need For A Solution
As you’ll soon learn, companies have put a large amount of time and money into preventing texting and driving. This is for good reason. This problem demands a solution because it’s widespread and incredibly dangerous. The National Safety Council reports that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes annually. Perhaps shockingly, texting while driving is six times more likely to cause a crash than driving under the influence of alcohol.
Furthermore, 11 teens die daily as a result of texting and driving. That number is astounding. While many believe that they can afford to quickly glance at a text, on average, doing so takes one’s eyes off the road for five seconds. If a driver’s speed is 55 miles per hour, that means he or she will travel approximately the length of a football field in the time it takes to read a simple text.
It’s easy to see that this is an issue that demands attention. The number of crashes, injuries, and fatalities that occur as a result of texting and driving have captured the attention of many, with more investments into potentially life-saving technology has come to the forefront of the auto industry.
Car Technology to Stop Texting and Driving
Ever since cell phone use started becoming a problem, car companies developed technology that helps diminish the need for texting and driving. For instance, Bluetooth technology exists in many new vehicles. This allows drivers not only to talk on the phone hands-free but also to have their text messages read aloud to them while behind the wheel and also allows drivers to dictate text messages aloud rather than having to physically text them. These solutions are great fixes for working professionals, but still while this fixes the visual distraction–it does not take away from the cognitive distraction that is especially essential for new drivers.
Cars also have automated, built in GPS systems that make it easier to navigate the roads without manually inputting destinations. These solutions aim to negate the need for a driver to even take one’s hands off the wheel.
While having car technology that allows drivers to power certain actions in their car with their voices – calling, texting, or even changing the radio station – is definitely a step in the right direction when it comes to driving distracted, it’s not enough. Especially when it comes to teen drivers. Even using Bluetooth technology presents a distraction, and for new drivers in particular, anything that takes cognitive focus of the road is a problem.
App Technology to Stop Texting and Driving
The wide world of apps includes seemingly endless programs that are designed to help us be more productive, happy, healthy, and entertained. So, it’s only natural that apps have been designed to help diminish the frequency of texting and driving. We’re highlighting the most effective of the bunch here.
First up is AT&T’s DriveMode. This app silences incoming texts and sends auto-replies when a message comes through if you’re driving. When your vehicle is in motion, the app starts automatically. This app is available for iOS and Android users regardless of phone carrier, even though it was developed by AT&T.
There are also apps developed outside of phone carriers. OneTap manages texts and calls for drivers while they’re on the road. Whenever a driver receives a text, the app automatically responds to the texter, letting them know that the driver is behind the wheel and is unable to text back at the moment.
Down for the Count is another app that motivates drivers to put their phones down. In fact, this app rewards drivers with cash when they refrain from texting and driving. Here, drivers sign a safe driving pledge and then can attain sponsors. When the pledge gets approved, sponsors can grant cash rewards for safe driving.
Again, these apps are definitely helpful in reducing the risk of texting and driving, but they’re – unfortunately – not fool-proof. The biggest kicker with these apps is that they only work if you make the effort to use them.
The Best Solution for Parents of Teen Drivers
As parents of teen drivers know, it can be hard to force an adolescent to use a program like this. These apps also don’t give parents much insight into their teen’s driving habits nor does it give them the control they strive for in keeping their kids safe behind the wheel. Teensafe is working to bridge that gap.
That’s why TeenSafe has come up with the ultimate solution. Later this year, we look forward to debuting our app, which will have a myriad of useful features. This app will allow parents to have more control over their teen’s driving habits and safety. Additionally, our app will focus on the driver’s safety rather than the safety of the vehicle. There are many reasons this new technology is needed. Check out more resources on the dangers of texting and driving for teens here:
- Teens Texting and Driving: Facts and Statistics
- Why Is Texting and Driving Dangerous?
- How Parents Can Stop Teens Texting and Driving
Taking advantage of technology to combat this problem is certainly useful, and we’re excited for our upcoming TeenSafe driving app to make a difference in keeping teen drivers safe from the dangers of texting and driving.