Mobile devices continue to grow in popularity, and these days, it’s rare that we see anyone without their phone to-hand. While this is great for convenience and connectedness, it can cause a danger on the roads when drivers forget to put their phones away.
Just like drink driving and drug driving, distracted driving is a common hazard that is being addressed by organisations and individuals, in an effort to keep it to a minimum. Studies have been conducted to determine the severity of texting while driving, and research found that drivers using their phone have a slower reaction time than those under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Reaction times decrease by as much as 37% when texting, and drivers take their eyes off the road for an average of 5 seconds each time they check their screen. If you’re travelling at a speed of 90 km/h, this would give you enough time to travel across a football field.
Despite the risks involved, we still see people texting behind the wheel.
To combat this and try to reduce deaths and injuries associated with distracted driving, certain measures are being put in place.
You’ve heard of breathalysers being carried out by police officers. Certain states in America have taken a similar approach in proposals to roll out anti-distracted driving technology.
The idea is based around police checking the mobile phone of drivers, even without a warrant, to determine whether they were using their phones on the road during an accident. This would be done using phone analysis software that will act as a “breathalyser for texting”.
While the software won’t give police explicit information about the content on a phone, it will be able to confirm whether the device was in use while an accident occured.
Some questions around the technology remain unanswered. For example, how does the software determine whether the phone was being used illegally or with hands-free software? How does the software determine if it was a driver or passenger using the phone?
It’s unknown whether this will become a regular police investigation method on the roads or whether it will be picked up by other countries, but it could be a start in fighting distracted driving.
In-built Technology in Mobile Phones
Last year, Google released Pixel 2 phones that include a safety feature in their software. This software automatically launches Do Not Disturb mode on a device when it detects that the device is moving at a fast speed.
Passengers will be able to disable this feature, but it will be useful for drivers that are easily distracted when they get a text or a social media notification.
Until anti-distracted driving technology becomes more prevalent in society, it’s down to individual drivers to look after themselves and others. Research in Queensland found that distraction is a contributing factor to 71% of truck crashes, and 22% of car crashes and near crashes.
All too often, we see people taking time to drive off at traffic lights, and veering from side-to-side, because they’re looking down at their screens. Awareness of the dangers of texting and driving is the first step to eliminating it, and it starts with each individual driver.If you’ve been involved in a car accident caused by distracted driving or the negligence of someone else, u-Law is your dedicated TAC lawyer that can help you get back on your feet.