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Apps Can Convert Smart Phones Into Distracted Driving Preventers

Jan 13, 2017 - Car Accidents, Tuscaloosa by

It is no secret that the use of cell phones while driving significantly increased car accident rates across the U.S. That impact increased sharply when smart phones brought everything from text messages to full Internet access behind the wheel of moving vehicles.

Until recently, each Tuscaloosa auto injury lawyer at our firm believed that powered-off smart phones are the only safe phones to have in moving vehicles. However, the development of apps that focus on driving safety can help reduce the inherent risks.

No Need to Power Off When Phones Can Be Smarter

According to Consumer Reports, a number of cell phone companies now offer free apps that help drivers automatically avoid texting while driving with these features:

  • Automatic activation: Most apps activate automatically when vehicles reach a specified speed. However, some apps must be turned on by the user before driving.
  • Disabled texting: Drivers cannot send or receive text messages as long as any of the apps are activated.
  • Auto responders sent for incoming text messages: Some of the apps automatically respond to incoming text messages to notify senders that they must wait for a response until drivers reach their destination. This feature is particularly helpful for stopping texters who send more and more messages when they do not receive an immediate response
  • Monitoring of young drivers: Some apps allow parents to monitor the driving and texting activities of their children. Certain apps even assign points for safe-driving behavior, which parents can use to provide positive incentives for avoiding distractions (or reducing driving privileges of children who cannot resist the temptation to text and drive).

Apps with these features are becoming more common offerings from wireless phone companies, but similar free or low-cost versions are also available for download.

Nearly One-Third of Drivers Engage in Texting-While-Driving

According to the most recent available research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 31 percent of surveyed U.S. drivers between age 18 and 64 reported having read or sent texts or email messages while driving in the month prior to the survey. This means that about one out of three cars sharing the road with responsible drivers may have their eyes and minds focused on something other than the road.

While smart phone apps might reduce the risk, no driver should expect significantly-safer roads unless these types of protections become mandatory for all smart phones, which is unlikely to happen any time in the near future.

Unfortunately, when distracted driving of any kind causes car accidents, proving liability for injuries often requires specialized investigation. It is important to seek knowledgeable legal advice as soon as possible after an accident.

Additional Resources

Distracted Driving Apps For When Willpower Fails, USA Today, April 30, 2014

Other Blog topics

Tuscaloosa Traffic Accidents – Cell Phones Not Only Distraction, Tuscaloosa Car Accident blog

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