Distracted Driving Awareness Month is almost over. Seminars, safety campaigns, law enforcement initiatives and other programs are likely winding down. It is possible that some have even been effective in preventing serious accidents caused by distracted drivers. Taken together, these efforts help protect lives and make driving safer. Combined with the recent innovations in driver training, they may be even more effective in preventing distracted driving.
A large contributor to the problem of distracted driving is overconfidence. Many people believe that they are good at multi-tasking. They believe that they are able to balance the attention they pay to their cell phones with the needs of safe driving. While many adults fall victim to this belief, it is an enormous problem among younger drivers. If you think you have the ability to use your cell phone and drive safely at the same time, you are wrong. It’s as simple as that.
Showing people that they are not uniquely gifted in their ability to drive distracted is not easy. Many people learn the hard way, only realizing the truth after getting into a car accident. If they are lucky, the accident doesn’t cause serious injury or death. Simulators allow people to get into accidents without actually suffering any harm. While immersive simulators are best, even online simulators can help get the point across.
A number of cell phone apps and related devices have also been designed to combat distracted driving. One of the most aggressive is a device called TextBuster. TextBuster uses Bluetooth to stop phones from performing data functions like texting, accessing email or using the Internet. Cell phones are still able to make and receive calls.
Parents of young drivers or soon-to-be drivers need all the help they can get in preventing distracted driving. Technology may provide the best solution to putting a stop to cell phone use behind the wheel.
Source: IP Watchdog, “Looking at text blockers and textalyzers during Distracted Driving Awareness Month,” by Steve Brachmann, 21 April 2016