Ever use your phone while driving? If you said no, you're probably
not being entirely truthful. Sending or reading texts at a stop light
counts, by the way. Even if you've never posted to social media while
driving, most people are guilty of using apps or messaging while behind
the wheel. It's almost habit; and since most of us feel like we are
good drivers, we don’t believe that the dangers really apply to
us. Changing people's minds – even with sobering evidence –
is nearly impossible. But in the spirit of the adage “if you can't
beat 'em, join 'em,” software developers are currently working
on apps that fight against distracted driving.
Smartphone use is a major cause of distracted driving accidents. Technology
is now being developed to keep drivers off their phones. In addition to
apps that lock phones down, others offer incentives for not touching the
phone while behind the wheel. Popular free apps available for both Android
and iPhones include
AT&T DriveMode and
Reading just one text message takes an average of five seconds. That's
five seconds that your eyes are off the road. The kid with the bouncing
ball isn't going to check to make sure you're paying attention
before darting into the road. The person on the motorized scooter on the
shoulder isn't looking back to make sure you're staying in your lane.
The government says that about 10 percent of traffic fatalities in 2015 involved distracted drivers,
which is up almost 9 percent from the year before. That equals 3,477 out
of more than 35,000 deaths. In the first six months of 2016, traffic deaths
were already up more than 10 percent. The National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration wants smartphone makers to work toward bringing these numbers
down by allowing phones to sense when a person is driving and effectively
lock out most apps. They want auto makers to be sure they're making
their vehicles compatible with such technologies.
Distracted driving apps strive to keep your attention on the road mainly
by blocking you from phone usage or by incentives. Some can track the
miles you've driven safely; some offer rewards for distraction-free
driving; and some even send notifications to parents. Before selecting
an app, be sure to check to be sure it's compatible with your operating
system and that it has what you're looking for. Here are a few to consider:
- – GPS monitoring and a rewards system (great for teens) are the main
draws of this app. It won't allow you to use your phone while driving
and, as added bonus, it sends notifications to loved ones once you've
arrived safely at your destination. Commercial fleet managers can keep
an eye on their drivers' habits this way, also.
AT&T DriveMode – This app is easy to set up, is very user friendly, and is available
for Android and iOS. Set up prizes for groups of drivers, block usage,
and monitor when your teen has deactivated the app or changed the settings.
Available on all carriers, it turns on automatically when your vehicle
is moving more than 15 mph.
- – The big difference between this app and others is the “trip
score” feature. It utilizes a rating scale and not only points out
moments where you may have been distracted, but it also compares driving
scores and shows a driver's location in real time. Parents of new
drivers might find this feature particularly useful, though there is no
rewards feature with this app.
Drive Beehive – Connect with sponsors, such as schools, businesses, family, friends,
for a personalized reward system. Sponsors can set rewards with this very
easily, and it is the official safe driving app of People Against Distracted
Driving (PADD). Drive Beehive is the only one of the four discussed here,
however, that does not actually block any calls or texts.
If you or someone you love has been injured by someone who chose to drive
while distracted, you need an experienced attorney to effectively represent
your interests. At Stabinski & Funt, P.A., we have successfully represented
victims throughout Florida who have been seriously hurt by negligent drivers.
We have also assisted families who have lost loved ones in traffic accidents.
For over 45 years, we have been helping injured motorists, passengers,
pedestrians, and cyclists put their lives back on track, and we are ready
to help you. For advice on how to proceed next, or if you have any questions
about this topic, call 305-643-3100 or
fill out a free case evaluation form.