distracted driving

Historically The Culprit, New Technology Combats Distracted Driving

When you think about technology in the car, distracted driving is generally considered a negative byproduct. After all, thousands of accidents are attributed to cell phones, navigation systems, and radios each year. But what if technology is actually the answer? New gadgets and innovations are suggesting this may be true.

3 Technologies That Hope to Halt Distracted Driving

Distracted driving isn’t an isolated issue or a minor problem. It’s an epidemic that seems to be getting worse with each new smartphone, wearable, and advanced auto gadget that’s released. Data from the NHTSA shows that 3,477 people were killed in distracted driving accidents in 2015 alone. Another 391,000 were injured.

While technology has historically been the culprit, a handful of tech companies are hard at work developing new gadgets and resources to fight distracted driving. Here are three interesting innovations to keep an eye on:

  1. Cellbrite’s Textalyzer

Distracted driving is arguably just as dangerous as drunk driving. As such, there’s a huge concern from law enforcement about the prevalence of distracted drivers on public roadways. To address this problem, international technology company Cellebrite has developed a product it calls the Textalyzer. It’s essentially a computer program that allows law enforcement to “unlock” a cell phone and use it as digital evidence to find out whether it was responsible for a traffic accident or violation.

While there are privacy concerns surrounding the Textalyzer, most would agree that people need to be held accountable for their actions. If a tool like this is able to consistently link distracted driving to car accidents, it will make more drivers think twice.

  1. iPhone’s “Do Not Disturb While Driving”

One of the newest features in Apple’s iOS 11 is a “Do Not Disturb While Driving” option. When turned on, the feature temporarily blocks text messages, phone calls, and other notifications that draw your attention away from the road. It even prevents the device’s screen from lighting up.

“The feature, when active, will be able to tell if you’re in a car when your phone is connected to the car’s USB connection or Bluetooth,” Sarah Perez writes for TechCrunch. “It will also be able to use the iPhone’s sensors to determine your speed, even if your phone isn’t connected to a car.”

  1. Delphi Monitoring

Another really neat technology is Delphi, which is currently being tested by a number of global auto manufacturers. The technology utilizes a number of sensors and cameras to identify when a driver is looking away from the road (or is otherwise distracted) and can take actions to mitigate risk. It can also tell when a driver is drowsy or impaired.

For example, if the system notices that you’re falling asleep, it will send a series of vibrations, beeps, and lights to shift your focus back to driving. Typically, this is all that’s needed to make a driver alert again.

“Using other systems in the vehicle, Driver State Sensing can also intelligently minimize activities,” Delphi explains. “For example, we can off-load driver functions through driver assistance features like adaptive cruise control and lane centering. The system can also enhance driver safety quickly by automatically taking action in critical situations when the driver does not such as advanced emergency braking (AEB).”

The wonderful thing about Delphi is that it’s fully integrated into the vehicle, meaning the driver doesn’t have to purchase something else or remember to turn a gadget on. It’s always there.

Putting the Brakes on Distracted Driving

Until self-driving vehicles rule the roadways, there’s no way to totally eliminate distracted driving. The human brain will always be susceptible to distractions and there’s no foolproof solution.

The good news is that new innovations are seeking to lessen the harmful impact of distracted driving, making it so that drivers are more focused on the road and less preoccupied with things like texting, phone calls, and GPS navigation.

Keep an eye on these gadgets. Exciting things await!