Fourteen states have passed laws to make it illegal to have a phone in your hand while you’re driving; and texting while driving is illegal in 46. Still, the National Safety Council attributes more than a million crashes each year to drivers on cell phones, while the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reports distracted driving plays a role in crashes that kill nine and injure another 1,000 people every single day. In the past few years, a variety of tech innovations have been developed to help curb the effects of distracted driving. And according to a recent survey, drivers appear to like the idea, as over half of those in a National Safety Council survey said they would welcome and use them. Forward-Collision Warning (FCW), Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), and Lane-Departure Warning (LDW) features on newer cars certainly snap many behind the wheel back to their driving task at-hand before their vehicle becomes an unguided missile. And continued development of driverless cars continues, although we’re at least a decade away from vast numbers of them being on the road. Knowing that “road tests” for driverless cars are conducted every day in real traffic – as opposed to just closed road courses – makes many drivers and pedestrians a bit queasy. But researchers agree that smartphones are the (almost) number one cause of distracted driving accidents. And wherever there’s a need, commerce responds. This explains a growing class of apps on the market that block or severely restrict smartphone communications when we’re behind the wheel. Some have auto responders which inform the message sender (or caller) that the person is driving and will get back with them shortly. A few of them can even be monitored by dedicated third parties (teenagers’ parents) to make certain the behind-the-wheel kiddos are paying attention to something other than their smartphone. Here’s a list of current products on the market that appear to be working – to varying degrees. Note: all apps are Android and iOS compatible unless otherwise noted.
- Apple’s Do Not Disturb While Driving for iOS 11
- AT&T DriveMode
- CellControl DriveID
- Drive Safe Mode
- Samsung’s In-Traffic