Preventing Distracted Driving with Technology
April 18, 2023
Earlier this month, we published a blog about preventing distracted driving, in which we discussed methods such as removing technology. Living in a world full of cutting-edge technology, sometimes it’s hard to put it down. Today, we wanted to discuss how you can change the script, and let technology be an asset to safe driving, instead of being a danger on the road.
Cell Phone Blocking Technology
Cell phone blocking technology is most often offered in the form of an app for smartphones. Some wireless companies and other app developers specialize in this kind of product. The most basic cell phone blocking technologies prevents calls or texts from coming through while a vehicle is in motion. For instance, Apple has a “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature natively built into your iPhone. More advanced systems are capable of blocking audio features, and tracking speed and sudden stops. Many send text or email reports of a user’s driving history. This could be helpful for parents of teenage drivers.
Why is Cell Phone Blocking Technology Necessary to Prevent Distracted Driving?
Many drivers continue to use their cell phone even when they are aware of the risk. Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed by the National Safety Council said that they felt they were at risk because another driver was distracted by technology. Yet, only twenty-five percent said their own distraction from technology was putting other at risk. In part, this “not me” attitude remains prevalent because people believe they are better drivers than those around them.
How Does It Prevent Distracted Driving?
Cell phone blocking apps and devices can be activated by adding a service to a wireless plan, downloading an app onto your phone (many of which are free!) or installing a device in your vehicle to put a “geofence” – also referred to as a virtual barrier – around the driver. All products have online dashboards that allow customers to set up accounts and choose settings.
if you have a cell-phone blocking technology connected to your phone, you will still be able to contact 911 in the case of an emergency. There are override features built into these programs.
Recommendations When Looking for Cell Phone Blocking Technology
- Safety options: Systems with the most safety benefit block all handheld and hands-free phone use; the best systems block incoming and outgoing phone calls, text messaging, social media, and internet access.
- Battery life: Be sure cell phone blockers won’t leave your smartphone drained.
- Compatibility: Nearly all products work with Android devices, but some may not work with Apple devices. Do your homework before purchasing a product for compatibility?
- Online dashboard: Is it easy to use and understand?
- Default settings: Can you adjust settings to make them stronger? How long will these settings keep your phone disabled if you’re not moving?
What Car Manufacturers Are Doing to Prevent Distracted Driving
There are many ways that you can make an effort in preventing distracted driving in your household. Car manufacturers also recognize the dangers of distracted driving, and are implementing technology features in their newer models of cars to be able to assist drivers in operating cars more safely on the road.
Driver monitoring systems:
This feature is one of the most recent to hit the automobile market. Subaru, BMW, and other vehicle manufacturers have placed sensors and cameras that use face recognition technology to detect indicators of driver distraction or drowsiness. Some can track your head and eye movements to ensure you’re looking straight ahead. If necessary, the automobile alerts you to pay more attention to the road instead of your phone. While this isn’t a widespread technology yet, it seems to be adopted by more automobile manufacturers each year.
Advanced Cruise Control Systems:
Advanced cruise control systems allow your car to sense when you may be becoming tired at the wheel. Some manufacturers like Honda have technology that locks your system and corrects your vehicle to stay in the lane, while other manufacturers have technology that actually recommends places for you to stop and check your text messages, or take a break from driving.
Lane Departure Warnings:
Modern-day cars often have lane departure warning systems installed. These systems rely on sensors to note where the car is in the lane. A system warns the driver if it recognizes the car crossing lane lines. The functionality differs by vehicle; however, common alerts include pop-up notifications on gauge cluster displays, instrument cluster lights, and even a rumble in your car seat.
Apple Car Play and Android Auto:
These systems offer reliable voice control systems that can use navigation apps, read and reply to texts, and enable you to converse without looking at your cell phone. That way, you can keep your eyes on the road.
Lane Keeping Assist:
Lane-keeping assist takes the extra step of recentering the car by applying light steering wheel correction. This system detects danger and even issues a lane departure warning. But this is not considered self-driving by auto companies or regulators. This is because this is a correction system, not an automation system.
Locking Out Controls:
These controls disable certain features on your smartphone or car screen, depending on whether you’re moving or not. It’s a slightly older technology, but is still seen in some cars today.
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