Technology may be key to ending the distracted driving epidemic

Some experts think that new technologies that temporarily disable certain smartphone features while a vehicle is running may be key to stemming the tide of the distracted driving epidemic across America. Initially, distracted driving was limited to phone calls and texting. Now, however, drivers are inundated with temptations in the form of social media, sharing “selfies,” navigation, music streaming, chats, email and more.

Studies have repeatedly shown that distracted driving is extremely dangerous, and there are hundreds of thousands of accidents each year linked to the practice. Many of these accidents result in serious personal injuries or death, both to the drivers themselves and to innocent occupants of other vehicles (or pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists). That is why interest has been so high in anything that might be able to keep drivers from succumbing to the temptation to drive while distracted.

The latest device, currently being piloted in America and abroad, preemptively cuts off incoming calls, texts, social media notifications, and other distractions while someone is behind the wheel. According to its developer, this type of component, which plugs into the vehicle just below the steering wheel, basically puts mobile phones in the vehicle into what he calls “super airplane mode.” Only emergency notifications (like AMBER and severe weather alerts) and navigation functionalities remain.

Other devices create different zones of wireless functionality throughout the vehicle, only blocking the driver’s communication capabilities, while allowing others in the car or truck to still use their phones uninterrupted. There are also apps, powered by wireless phone providers, that allow for similar service/communication limitations for a driver when a vehicle is in motion. These are particularly helpful for teens, as they allow parents to track the car’s speed, adherence to traffic laws, and more.

These devices aren’t yet in widespread use, so it is too soon to tell what their impact will be against the distracted driving epidemic. In the meantime, if you or a loved is injured by a texting, emailing or networking driver, speak with a local personal injury attorney.

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