How Technology Can Tame
As cell phone
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) estimates that 22 percent of all crashes in 2008 could be attrib- uted to distracted driving, and govern- ment statistics confirm that figure. In addition, insurance industry research shows that crashes due to distracted riving make up nearly 40 percent of insurance company payouts. Distracted driving diverts the atten-
tion of the driver in three unique ways:
• Visual—taking your eyes off the road.
Walking the Talk?
Eight in 10 drivers say that it’s never safe to text, e-mail or use
a smartphone while driving, according to a recent survey. Yet
50 percent of those same drivers reported making calls on their
phones and 15 percent of drivers admit to sending and reading
text messages while driving.
These are the findings from the GMAC Insurance National
Drivers Test, which polled 5,130 licensed drivers ages 16-65,
from 50 states and the District of Columbia. Younger drivers,
considered among the highest risk groups by property/casualty
insurers, seem to be getting the message that distracted driving
is unsafe, with almost three quarters of 16 to 17 year olds saying
that they’ve completely stopped the use of mobile devices while
driving. — Pat Speer
The Role of Technology
While technology certainly helped create the problem, it can now
play a vital role in helping to solve it. A number of technologies are
available today to assist those individuals who lack the self -control
to curb cell phone use while driving and companies seeking to
enforce compliance to distracted driving policies. A selection of
Software-based. These solutions are inexpensive, always on and
GPS-based, but can impact battery life and are smartphone-centric.
Text2Speech. These solutions keep a driver’s eyes on the road
but create a new set of distractions at the same time.
Network-based. These solutions require little user interaction
but introduce unwanted “foreign objects” into the network.
Hardware-based. These solutions work with most Bluetooth
devices as well as dumb phones, but are complex and expensive
to install and maintain.
All of the technologies have their strengths and weaknesses,
and all can help address this growing problem. Distracted driving
is an issue that is not going away anytime soon. Implementing a
simple software solution can truly be a lifesaver.
Daniel Ross is CEO of Illume Software, a mobile software company.
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