Distracted Driving Remains a Top Traffic Safety Problem
If you own a cellphone, you have probably been distracted while driving at some point: You’re behind the wheel when you get a text message or phone call that you know is important. All of a sudden you’re juggling the phone and the steering wheel — and you miss a turn or sign.
Distracted drivers are everywhere, and they cause a lot of traffic injuries and fatalities.
The rapid increase in smartphone technology means that drivers have access to programs, games, websites, and other content that can take their eyes off the road. In response, computer scientists and software developers are racing to create applications that will stop drivers from using smartphones on the road.
In August 2013, Mobile Life Solutions debuted TextLimit, an application that allows users to prevent a mobile device from receiving or sending text messages. Subscribers can remotely disable a smartphone’s texting and other communication functions once the phone reaches a certain speed.
- Drive First, which silences text and call alerts once a car is traveling 10 mph or more.
- FleetSafer, which turns off email, text, and calls and sends auto replies to incoming calls or messages.
- DriveSafe.ly, an app that translates messages into speech so that a smartphone can “read” emails and texts aloud to the driver.
- Textecution, which completely disables texting while driving 10 mph or more.
- Cellcontrol, which disables texts, emails, the Web, and other mobile apps on smartphones, laptops, and tablets.
- Kyrus Mobile, a company that develops apps for fleet managers and commercial truckers to limit cell communications while on the road.
Slowed Reaction Time, Precious Time Lost to Avoid Crash
Distractions slow reaction time and prevent drivers from interpreting or even noticing visual cues.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that 3,331 people were killed in crashes because of distracted driving in 2011, or 10% of the traffic fatalities for the year. The AAA Foundation has shown that.
More alarming, the Wall Street Journal reported in May 2013 that distracted driving accidents caused by cellphones are underreported, which skews the national data.
The National Safety Council studied 180 fatal auto crashes related to cellphone use and found that just over half were coded as phone-related in the national databases. Given such gaps in record-keeping, it is likely that the number of people killed by drivers who were distracted by cellphones is a lot higher than current statistics suggest.
Many states ban texting and driving. However, 75% of teens say that texting and driving is common among their peers, and the Governors Highway Safety Association estimates that 25% of auto crashes in the U.S. are related to cellphone use. These findings highlight the need for more research on how to combat distracted driving.
If you have been hurt in a car crash, tractor-trailer accident or motorcycle collision, you may be able to receive compensation for your pain, injuries, and financial loss.
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