With our society increasingly dependent on having technology available at our fingertips, it comes as no surprise that driving accidents stemming from technological distractions have skyrocketed in recent years. Government agencies, advocacy groups, and cell-phone companies are scrambling to create campaigns to combat the dangers of distracted driving, while other organizations work to fight technology with technology.
What Are the Facts?
Distracted driving occurs as a result of some activity that takes your attention away from the road, including texting, listening to music, eating food, watching a video, or using a navigation system. All of these distractions make driving more dangerous.
Distraction.Gov, the official US government agency website against distracted driving, notes that a quarter of teens respond to at least one text message every time they drive, and 20 percent of teens admit to having full-fledged texting conversations while on the road. Also, at any time, there are over 600,000 drivers using some type of handheld cellular device while driving -a statistic that has not changed since 2010. These numbers show the pervasiveness of the distracted driving problem, and the fact that,despite legislative efforts to ban cell-phone use in the car, little change has occurred.
A number of organizations have created campaigns and pledges to stop distracted driving, but more needs to be done. Because of this, many companies are now using the very technology responsible for many of the problems to combat the issue. How? By creating apps and other devices to curb the use of distracting technologies in the car. Below are just a few examples.
Safely Go.This apprecognizes the fact that cell phones are a hard-to-avoid temptation,and that drivers need help staying focused. When installed on your phone, Safely Go will only allow calls or text messages from three chosen important contacts, automatically replying to all other incoming communications that you are on the road. It also enables Bluetooth hands-free calling and permits access only to driving-related apps such as navigation and music.
Drive First.Sprint launched this safe driving app and allows their customers to download it for free. To help curb cell-phone use in vehicles, it sends incoming calls straight to voice mail and disables text and email alerts once the car starts start moving at a minimum of 10 mph.
Text Limit.With this paid app that’s designed with new drivers in mind, parents can set a certain speed at which a phone’s texting abilities will be disabled. Parents will also receive a text if their teen exceeds a certain speed while on the road, clueing them in on potential speeding or letting them know that “going to Johnny’s house” a few streets over apparently necessitated getting on the highway.
Canary.This is another app with new drivers (and parents) in mind. It notifies parents if their child exceeds speed limits, and in addition tells them when the phone is unlocked while driving, so that teens can be confronted about this dangerous behavior.
Drive Scribe.If you want an app that takes a different approach, this might be for you. Instead of blocking the use of cell phones, it allows users to rack up safe driving points that can be turned into gift cards at Amazon.com and other stores. Even better, it’s completely free.
Because cell phones are not going away anytime soon, finding a way to curb their use while driving a car is a positive step forward.
The Big Picture
All of these apps show how technology can be used to solve a problem created by technology in the first place. With cellphone companies, advocacy groups, and government agencies taking a stand against distracted driving, thenumber of technology-related accidents should be reduced in years to come, but nothing is going to stop them from happening altogether.If someone hits you because they’re distracted by their phone, they need to be held accountable, and you have the right to receive compensation for the injuries you’ve suffered. We’ve helped lots of clients in similar situations, and we can help you, too.
About the Author: Attorney Jeffrey A. Luhrsen credits his military career with the work ethic, integrity, and tenacity that drives his career as a personal injury attorney. Having garnered numerous academic awards and scholarships during college and law school, Mr. Luhrsen has continued to earn accolades throughout his career, including a Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rating, the highest rating an attorney can achieve in legal ability and ethical standards. He has been in private practice since 1998 with a focus on tort claims and insurance disputes. Luhrsen Law Group, based in Sarasota, Florida, is proud to be a family-owned firm that helps Florida families recover after serious injuries and from legal wrongs.