Texting. Talking on the phone. Twittering and Facebook. Searching for driving directions. All examples of how our modern tools for digital communication (cell phones) can lead to distractions on our roadways, accidents, and unfortunately, the loss of life. But in the end, who is responsible for fixing the problem of distracted driving?
At present, it comes down to an individual’s responsibility but studies shows, individuals can’t control themselves. Answering a text, taking a call, looking for directions is too tempting to curb. So, we turn to outside parties to make us all responsible. But should we? And who should they be?
Car Manufacturers might have the best opportunity to make significant change. By adding “blocking” technology to their cars, they could easily create “mobile safe” vehicles. But CHECK THIS OUT: In a recent statement, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said “Drivers are going to have conversations, listen to music and read maps while driving, and automakers are helping them do this more safely with integrated hands-free systems that help drivers focus on the road.”
Let me get this straight, while you could BLOCK phones, you don’t want to impede on a drivers right to be distracted. So instead, you’ve chosen to integrate better hand-free systems. Not sure how responsible that statement is!
Cell Phone Companies?
Similar to car manufacturers, cell phone companies have a great opportunity to restrict mobile usage while in a vehicle. Sprint and T-Mobile are already offering apps that prevent the use of cell phones while a vehicle is in motion. The problem is these apps are easy to override.
Ultimately, cell phone companies may have to lead the way in ensuring that a driver is unable to use their cell phone while operating a vehicle, except perhaps in cases of emergency. The good news is that this problem is certainly on their radar.
What if Insurance companies gave rate reductions to drivers who use (and can prove) that they have “blocking” technologies installed? Would that be incentive enough to prompt drivers to keep their eyes on the road?
If there is anything that modern America can count on for innovation and advancement, it is our savvy tech startups and college research teams. Even right now, the current offerings from these groups have far surpassed any efforts made by car manufacturers or cell phone companies, with regard to fighting distracted driving.
Teams at Stevens Institute of Technology and Rutgers University have paired up to use Bluetooth technology and audio transmissions to allow the vehicle and cell phone to sync up, target only the cell phone of the driver, and stop its use while the vehicle is in motion.
Another tech company called Key2SafeDriving offers a hardware device that can be installed in a vehicle and eliminates the opportunity to browse the web while driving. This device does not “jam” the cell phone, but simply restricts its access to certain apps and contacts, allowing the driver to call only 911 and two other predetermined contacts of their choice.
Tell us what you think.
- Should one of these groups take the lead and put an end to distracted driving? Or is it the responsibility of all of them?
- Do you think distracted driving should be our own responsibility?
- Is it even a big deal?
We’d love to hear what you think in our comments section.