Paying attention while driving is the number one way to avoid distracted driving accidents. Not using a mobile device while behind the wheel can make all the difference. Using such a device while driving can have deadly results. Even though texting while driving is against the law in many states and localities, it hasn’t seemed to make much of a difference. According to the National Safety Council, in 2013 there were 1.1 million distracted driving accidents nationwide. The United States Department of Transportation cited over 3,000 fatalities and more than 400,000 injuries caused by some form of distracted driving.
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving can involve a variety of actions. From using a cell phone to texting to eating while driving, all of these things can be considered to cause a distraction. Even just talking while behind the wheel to dealing with noisy kids in the backseat can take your attention off of the road. Using a hands free device does not offer much of a difference, although the perception is that it is a good solution. When your attention is elsewhere, there are studies that show you look, but do not actually see. In a study conducted by AAA even voice controlled systems take your attention away from the road. Just hearing the notification of an incoming text or email can divert attention at a critical time.
Is Driving Mode the Answer?
Driving mode disables the ability of the phone to receive calls,texts and other functions such as Facebook and gaming, but retaining the ability to use a navigation system and emergency communications as well. Unfortunately, most phones do not offer a true Driving Mode. Some phones do have a driving mode, but it is simply a feature which reads aloud a text or email. This can be a distraction as well.
A simple idea to motivate drivers to use such a system would be if the insurance companies would offer a discount to a driver who purchases a Driving Mode feature for their phone. A financial incentive may help this simple solution gain popularity and acceptance. Anything to curb the incidences of distracted driving accidents. It could save a life, maybe yours.