Teen Driver Safety Week (Day 4) – The Growing Problem of Texting While Driving – Finding Solutions
Utah Department of Transportation and its public safety partners have created a program called Zero Fatalities, and recently released a powerful 15-minute documentary addressing the growing problem of texting while driving today. View the video below.
The intent is to alter the public’s current perception that traffic fatalities are an inevitable reality that must be accepted. Instead, by making minor changes to our driving behaviors, our roads will become safer for drivers and passengers. We can prevent the deaths of thousands of people.
Traffic fatalities are preventable – not inevitable, yet they are the leading cause of death for children, for teens, and for everyone between 3 and 33 years old. In fact, according to the National Safety Council, your chance of dying in a car crash sometime in your life is one in 84. How many crashes can be prevented each year if everyone in the car is properly restrained, or not drunk, or drowsy, or speeding?
There are techniques and emerging technologies that can help remind drivers to ignore their phone and text messages while driving.
Washington DC has a law against cellphone use (without a hands free device) and texting while driving within the district, and has created a public awareness campaign website that includes a page full of downloadable ring tonesthat simulate a police siren closing in on your vehicle to remind you that you may be getting a ticket if you answer the phone. Another ringtone reminds you “This phone does not have a hands free device, please do not answer this phone.”
Another similar technique that is a powerful reminder to not answer the phone while driving is to record a short message from your loved ones, asking you to come home safely and not answer the phone while you are driving.
But what do you do if simply ignoring a call or email is not acceptable to you. There are a few apps you can choose from that will intercept your email and text messages and automatically reply with a short message that you are currently driving, and will respond to the message as soon as it is safe to do so. One such system is ZoomSafer (which you can try for free), and they have an excellent video online that demonstrates how this system works.
When will mobile phone and messaging device manufacturers get on-board and offer similar functionality right out-of-the-box with each handset they sell?
Many multi-function communication devices already come with a “Plane Safe” mode so that you can listen to your music from your phone while flying, why not a “Drive Safe” mode that uses the built-in GPS and G-force sensors to recognize the phone is moving at road speeds, and offer an option to defer calls and texts until later?
What are your thoughts?