Can a Mobile Device Reduce Distracted Driving?

By Lindsey Patterson May 10, 2016

Distracted driving is a major problem in the U.S. In 2014, as many as 30,000 people died, and more than 430,000 were injured as a result of car crashes that involved distracted drivers. However, the most ironic thing is that a smartphone which is thought by many as the root of the problem, can be the solution to this issue.

 

People Understand Using Cellphones While Driving Is Wrong

According to a recent survey conducted by AT&T, adults have the biggest texting-while-driving problem in U.S. In fact, 49 percent admitted to texting-while-driving compared to 43 percent of teenagers. What's more wrong is that 98 percent of them admitted they know it's wrong. The survey was carried out on 1,011 adult drivers followed by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study which found 31 percent of the drivers in the U.S. reported the behavior of texting or email e-mailing while driving.

Distracted Driving Stats Are Much Higher Than Previously Reported

Data analyzed from smartphones use from thousands of trips made by drivers using an app that is used to track distracted driving, shows that the numbers are in fact much higher than anticipated. It is true that up to 85 percent of the drivers use their phones while driving which represents twice the 42.3 percent reported by an AAA self-reporting study. Most of these drivers were involved in texting or used an app 16 percent of the time while driving which equates to 20 million hours of distracted driving for all Americans a day.
 

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The Accidents Caused by Distracted Driving Cause Both Human and Economic Loss

Distracted driving causes loss of lives and the economy due to high claims of insurance compensation. Earlier this year, the chairperson, CEO and largest shareholder of Berkshire Hathaway, told CNBC that the decline of Geico's profit from $1.6 billion to $460 million from 2014 was because of the increase in the distracted driving accidents that attracted more compensation to the victims. Buffett has also forecasted that the insured will likely get a higher car insurance quote from the insurance company. However, he insisted that this wasn't the right cure for the distracted driving accidents which will continue to rise.

Another federal study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that distracted driving caused as much as $175 billion in a year. The total loss for all highway crashes is $871 billion with $277 billion in economic costs and $594 billion in "Societal harm". Distracted driving accounted for 17 percent of the total financial losses representing $46 billion a year and 15 percent of the societal arm representing $129 billion a year.

Many People Still Think They Are Great Drivers, and Not the Type That Causes Accidents

Most of the texts sent by drivers seem straightforward and harmless such as "I just wanted to confirm the venue of the meeting", Are you still coming today?", and "I'm just trying to check the map on my phone." Some people think that using the phone while driving helps to slow down or stop as you approach an intersection. It makes sense to say that people believe that it is safer to use the phone if they are moving slowly. However, this appears to be the biggest problem.


The Answer Is Awareness

It turns out that the increase in accidents is because we believe we are good drivers and that we can multitask. However, using smartphone-based apps that track, analyze and report driver behavior can help reduce this preventable risk. In the same way, wearable fitness trackers help patients to monitor their health; the smartphone-based apps give the driver accurate information about their behaviors to ensure they change. All you need is Internet connection to make the app work as required. It is shocking how risky it is to engage in unsafe cell phone use during driving and how drivers acknowledge this. It is time for all drivers to challenge themselves about using smartphone-based apps to become safer drivers. 




Edited by Stefania Viscusi

Contributing Writer

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