The Federal Government reports that more than 3,000 people each year are killed on U.S. roadways due to distracted driving. Approximately 70% of drivers also admit to using cell phones despite knowing the dangers of distracted driving.
What many people do not know is that app developers are helping make your phone a device to combat distracted driving. Apps are being developed to help drivers stay focused on driving by blocking phone usage while driving, which in turn helps to prevent the number of distracted driving crashes and could save thousands of lives per year.
Most are available for smartphones and are available through wireless service companies that specialize in these types of apps. These safety tools can be activated by adding a service through your wireless plan, by downloading an app onto your phone (many are free), or installing a device in your vehicle that adds a virtual barrier around the driver. Each allows the customer to set up an account and choose various settings.
The most simple technologies will block you from using your phone for calls, texts, and emails while the vehicle is in motion. Other more advanced technologies have the ability to block audio features, keep you from accessing the camera, and can even track your speed and sudden stops.
A great benefit to parents with teen drivers are the apps that will email or text a parent notifications that provide helpful information. The LifeSaver app uses GPS monitoring and can block the ability to use the phone while driving, let parents know when their child arrives at their destination safely, and can even allow parents to set up rewards for their teens when they demonstrate safe driving behaviors.
Other apps let users interact with their phone while driving handsfree. Drivesafe.ly (available for both Android and BlackBerry) has one-touch activation and announces callers by name, reads text messages and emails aloud, and can be set to auto-respond without the driver needing to touch the device. Overrides for dialing 911 come standard with blocking devices and most apps will allow passengers to use a phone.
To help us all be safer and have less distracted driving on our Nevada roadways, NDOT encourages the use of apps to help change driving behaviors. For more information, please visit the National Safety Council online.