Whether it is an app on our phone, a text message, or our GPS system, many drivers can’t seem to put down their devices while on the road. As a result, the number of car accidents have substantially increased within the past few years and the number of distracted driving fatalities continues to climb. In fact, 8 people are killed and 1,161 are injured every day in distracted driving accidents. Technology seems to be a common theme, causing the majority of distracted driving accidents, but could technology also be the solution to distracted driving?
What Distracted Driving Solutions Have We Created?
Our society has been looking for ways to reduce distracted driving for a very long time and we have come up with various hands-free solutions. Voiceover features programmed in phones like Siri have the ability to read and respond to messages. Additionally, other third party apps like MessageLOUD can easily be downloaded and offers voice-to-text solutions. However, are these options actually working?
A general rule: if you can’t dedicate your undivided attention on the road because of another activity, it is a distraction. Moreover, social media use (i.e. Snapchat & Driving, scrolling on Instagram, etc) has become an increasing problem that isn’t solved by any hands-free options. However, instead of focusing on apps that ultimately aid the distraction, we took a look at different apps that either incentivize safe driving or block distractions out completely.
- Drive Beehive – The Drive Behive app, created by PADD, is a peer-to-peer rewards system. Here, you are able to pair up with a family member, friend, or someone in your network and create a reward system between one another, which is determinant on the amount of miles you travel, undistracted.
- Drive Alive – Drive Alive Lite documents and tracks your safe driving hours (SDH). Working like a point system, you receive rewards based on the amount of points you rack up as a safe driver.
- DriveMode – By blocking text messages and calls while a driver is on the road, DriverMode keeps drivers safe from distraction.
- Wonder – Wonder incorporates real-time driving statuses into your messages, which shows if a contact is currently driving. The goal with this is to empower the individual who is texting or calling.
- Live2Txt – Created by DEDE Enterprises, Live2Txt blocks incoming calls or texts at any time the user does not wish to receive these. This app will send a customized message to anyone indicating that you are unable to respond
What has been working better- incentivized or blocking apps? The answer is dependent on the driver. Phoenix accident attorney Craig Knapp has dealt with a multitude of distracted driving cases and believes that the incentivized programs are both a unique and creative way to decrease distracted driving, especially for teenagers. Many teens feel these blocking applications are unfair and controlling. Additionally, if there is a true emergency, teen drivers would not have access to their phone while on the road. However, it’s essential to teach programs like this to teenagers at a young age and instill the importance of these apps if we want to see success.
We want to know what you think!
If you have experience with any of the featured apps, or have other solutions to suggest, let us know and help spread awareness to reduce distracted driving and promote driver safety.
Katie Bassett is a digital marketing strategist at Safer America, a safety advocacy organization, who primarily focuses on youth safety and development projects.