Distracted driving is an issue that must be tackled head-on. Many U.S. states have passed legislation that prohibit texting and hand-held cell phone use. In fact, 39 states, plus the District of Columbia, currently have banned texting and 10 states, as well as Washington, D.C., prohibit hand-held cell phone use. The dangers associated with driving distracted are significant and attributed to thousands of deaths as well as serious injuries every year. Despite the fact that legislation exists in many states, the enforcement of these bans is quite challenging. Therefore, new emerging technology may help prevent distracted driving behavior. Here are some emerging technology tools that can actually prevent distracted driving.
1. No More Falling Asleep at the Wheel–Thanks to drowsy driver detection, many accidents, injuries, and/or deaths can be prevented. Several auto manufacturers offer monitoring systems to alert drivers when they are falling asleep at the wheel. These alerts come in the form of sensory and audible warnings, such as a tap on the brakes, tug on the shoulder belt, chime, and/or an illuminated cup-of-coffee icon on the instrument panel, that alert the driver that they are impaired and too tired to drive. This system prompts the driver to pull over to the side of the road, look for a rest stop, or find a restaurant where they can take a break.
2. Accident Avoidance Systems–Several automobiles are now equipped with accident avoidance systems that monitor the area in front of a vehicle to notify drivers of possible dangers ahead. These possible hazards could include pedestrians, animals, or stopped vehicles. In many cases, these avoidance systems are linked to the braking mechanism in the vehicle. Thus, the vehicle’s sensors can automatically brake to avoid crashes altogether. As a result, these crash avoidance systems will be activated when a driver is most likely to be distracted (e.g. when trying to find a parking place in a busy parking lot, dealing with a couple of uncooperative kids or a baby who needs attention in the back seat, and/or a cup of hot coffee loses its lid and lands in the driver’s lap). In these circumstances, this system could prove invaluable.
3. Hands-Free and Audio Control Connectivity Tools–Most automakers offer some kind of hands-free connectivity package that allows the driver to talk and stay connected via their phone and/or media devices. In fact, many automakers are now required to include Bluetooth capabilities in their most recent models. Moreover, these automobiles also feature audio and/or voice-activated controls that allow the driver to operate vehicle systems and other features via voice commands. Systems or components that might be operated via audio control include the vehicle’s audio and navigation systems, climate control, cell phone, and/or other electronic systems.
Distracted driving is a serious issue that everyone must be aware of and take steps to curb the behaviors associated with it. While several U.S. states have passed legislation that prohibit hand-held cell phone and texting use while driving, the enforcement of these bans is limited at best while the dangers associated with driving distracted remain significant. Therefore, it is up to new emerging technology to help prevent distracted driving behavior. There are several emerging technology tools that can actually prevent distracted driving and save lives.
Written and Edited by Leigh Haugh
Consumer Reports–Can Technology Prevent Distracted Driving?
Geico–Emerging Technology to Prevent Distracted Driving
Huffington Post–Distracted Driving Is a Huge Problem but Technology Can Help