Posted On February 27, 2017 In Local Car Accidents
Public safety officials and lawmakers are desperate for solutions to prevent distracted driving crashes. Lawmakers in states across the country have considered harsher punishments to deter distracted driving, such as fines or license suspension. However, options such as harsher punishments may be more effective if combined with other solutions. Just because motorists may be fined does not mean they will not use their phones behind the wheel. All states have laws addressing distracted driving to some extent. Crashes caused by motorists texting or browsing behind the wheel continue to happen in these states. Solutions created by technological innovation may also play a big role in solving this public safety crisis.
A recent article published by Wired makes a good point: solutions for preventing distracted driving should have a firm understanding of how people use mobile technology. It is ironic that technology is the cause behind distracted driving crashes, but also a possible solution. Automakers and smartphone manufacturers could develop solutions that prevent distracted driving.
Phones could utilize “driving mode” to help prevent distracted riving crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has expressed support for this idea. If implemented correctly, this idea would prevent many features on phones from working while people are driving. Apps, text messaging, and even nonemergency phone calls could be blocked.
In some ways, the feature would be similar to airplane mode. Just in case you do not know what airplane mode is, it is a feature on mobile devices that restricts radio communications while on commercial aircraft.
There are some challenges to this solution. Smartphones would have to identify drivers and not passengers. This can only be possible if smartphones work with vehicle infotainment systems. Many cars on the road still do not have these features, so driving mode may have limited success. Smartphone manufacturers would also have to agree to implement these changes. Although NHTSA has issued voluntary guidelines on driving mode to smartphone manufacturers, it has no regulation authority over the handheld consumer electronics industry. There is also the possibility the self-driving car market will explode faster than expected, beating this possible solution to the punch. While this idea is not perfect, that does not mean it should be discarded.
App manufacturers can also pitch in to help with America’s distracted driving problems. Some app creators and wireless carriers have already developed software that prevents or discourages phone use while driving. AT&T’s DriveMode app for iPhones prevents phone calls and text messages from reaching drivers. Sprint’s Drive First and T-Mobile’s DriveSmart apps have similar features. Apps developed by third parties such as SafeDrive or Cellcontrol also claim they can prevent distracted driving by blocking certain smartphone features.
There are downsides to using apps as a solution. Unless required by parents or an employer, people may choose not to use the apps. They are voluntary.
Unfortunately, there are no easy solutions to this public safety problem. It will likely take a combination of forces and laws to come together and solve this issue.
One of the worst aspects of distracted driving crashes, is that they are preventable. These tragedies do not have to happen in the first place. Individuals hit by distracted drivers and their family members deserve the chance to seek justice. They deserve to know they will be taken care of after being harmed by these tragedies. Our attorneys can help in this regard. The Texas car accident attorneys at Mike Love & Associates, LLC will fight insurance companies on your behalf and hold distracted drivers accountable.
At Mike Love & Associates, LLC, we review your situation for free and spell out every option that may be available to you. If we can’t help there is no charge.