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Distracted driving accounted for over 3,000 deaths in 2015 and another 300,000 injuries due to accidents involving distracted drivers. It is estimated that approximately 660,000 drivers use cell phones while driving during daylight hours. Ironically, the very tech that created this problem in the first place may also provide the solution. Some people feel the problem can be solved by disabling tech in cars altogether, while other feel that safer tech is the answer. Regardless of where the answer lies, here are 5 tech-driven fixes for texting and driving.
While there are a number of tasks that digital assistants can accomplish with ease, texting is perhaps the most frustrating task for hands-free users because of the lack of recognition of many digital assistants of unique words. Voice recognition software is improving by leaps and bounds, however, encouraging drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and let their digital assistant take care of their texts.
At just 35 mph, you will travel approximately 154 feet or about half the length of a football field in just 3 seconds. Taking your eyes off the road for just that small amount of time to glance at a text can have disastrous results. That's why the next gen of tech involves sophisticated heads up displays that can actually display a text or e-mail right onto the front windshield of your car.
Nissan car company clearly feels the answer to distracted driving is to eliminate tech in the car entirely. That's why Nissan is building a Signal Shield into their cars, which will block all Bluetooth, WiFi and cell signals. While some people are able to simply ignore the buzzes and pings their phones send out while they are driving, others are not. Nissan hopes to solve this problem by not allowing a signal through to your phone with which to be distracted by.
Development is under way on a device that would essentially turn your phone into a "black box" like the ones used in airline crashes. A simple cable connection to your cell phone would allow police to access a complete record of what apps were open, what calls or messages were sent or received or what taps or swipes were happening at the time of an accident. According to attorney Dave Abels, these devices have seen a limited rollout in the United States, but there is evidence showing that their implementation could significantly reduce incidents of texting and driving.
One car company feels that knowing your actions will be caught on camera is enough to deter drivers from doing far more than just texting. Their facial recognition software is able to detect eye movements and analyze when a driver takes their eyes off the road for any reason.
While there is no quick, easy, clean solution for texting while driving, the answer is far more likely to come from tech rather than from legislation. While law-makers can pass bills inflicting strict penalties, they will have a harder time enforcing them than drunk driving laws, since a driver can't quickly hide the fact that they are drunk or simply denying it. It seems to be something of a race to the finish line between those that want to solve the problem with better tech and those that want to eliminate it entirely.