When people think about dangerous driving habits, their first thought is usually drinking and driving. Luckily, deaths caused by drunk drivers decreased by 28% from 2005 to 2012. While drunk driving is still very dangerous and claiming lives, ad campaigns that started in the 80s and a clear legal limit of 0.08% BAC have a hand in creating a social stigma that drunk driving is wrong and unacceptable
Distracted driving, on the other hand, is actually on the rise. Deaths from distracted driving increased by 28% between 2005 and 2008. There are also laws and ad campaigns against this danger, but the social responsibility has not yet hit the same level as drunk driving.
In Indiana, no one is legally permitted to use a cell phone while driving except in case of emergency, and texting and driving is prohibited at any time. These recent laws create another reason among many not to text and drive, on top of the obvious danger it poses, causing 1.6 million accidents every year. Here are some tools to keep people accountable to New Year’s Resolutions not to text and drive.
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Tools for Distracted Driving Accountability
AT&T’s campaign It Can Wait now has an app called Drive Mode that can be downloaded to both Apple and Android smartphones. This app lets you customize a message to automatically get sent to anyone texting you while your app is turned on. There is also a feature that when your car reaches at least 15 mph your phone will automatically turn on the app. You are also able to add your music app, map preference, and speed-dial contacts to the app’s front page for quick and easy access. While this may not be a “fix” to such a complex issue, it is a step toward creating an alternative to distracted driving.
DriveSafe.ly is another app option to help you resist the urge to text on the road. It also has a simple user interface. With one touch of the “on” button, the app blocks incoming messages from your view. You have the option of an automatic message, but you can also have the app read incoming messages, emails, and phone calls to you. The app also allows you to use voice command to respond to your messages. This will allow you to stay connected as needed, without the visual distraction.
Drunk driving is being tackled through the media and a public sense of ownership; most people will offer to be a designated driver or call a Lyft driver. Texting and driving is a more common and equally dangerous risk, but one that is less stigmatized. According to a recent State Farm survey, people easily recognize the distraction using a cell phone while driving poses, but most will use their phones anyway. Because of this semi-acceptance of texting and driving, the consequences are still on the rise. We hope apps like these empower all of us to be more responsible drivers, keeping our eyes on the road and off our screens.