From the dawn of time man has suffered from the affliction of distraction. Distraction in itself normally just leads to people not being as productive as they could be or not paying attention to those who deserve their full attention. However, over the last 20 years or so, with the invention of the smartphone, distraction has become deadly as people struggle to disconnect from their networks when they need to concentrate on the road. The NHTSA reported that in 2019 in the United States, more than 3000 people died in fatal car accidents due to the driver being distracted by their cell phone, a horrific statistic.
Since the introduction of the automobile over 100 years ago the subject of driving safety has been at the forefront of governments minds. The car is a powerful machine in the hands of man. Man makes mistakes and the potential for serious damage to property or person is inevitable. Whilst there is little call to ban cars from our roads, there are calls from government organizations and private people to push for greater emphasis on safer driving.
Distracted driving can be the result of many things but cellphones in cars are recognized as being a major distraction. People feel an immediate need to see what the beep on their phone means. As their eyes scan over to the screen of their phone, they briefly come off of the road. Many drivers go further, they feel the need to respond overwhelming and will concentrate a little more on their phone and text as they drive, removing one hand from the steering wheel and concentrating more on their phone than the cars around them.
Everyone knows that distracted driving through texting while driving is dangerous. The police force have the power to punish you severely if you are caught texting and driving. In the case of you causing an accident, you could even lose your license. However, this does not seem to be enough of a deterrent. The need to pick up that text and answer it, together with the belief that you will not have an accident and are unlikely to be caught in the act mean that people continue this dangerous habit.
As the issue is really a behavioral one, education and social pressure are the best methods of combating it. Hard hitting television commercials, aimed to shock you into believing that you could cause an accident through your distracted driving have had some effect but evidently not enough as so many people still drive and text.
Social pressure is starting to be seen as the last weapon in the arsenal to stop people from becoming distracted by their cellphones whilst driving. The End Distracted Driving organization works tirelessly to try to change habits. They believe one of the most effective ways to do so is through peer pressure. They published some statistics based on a survey that they conducted. It seems that the vast majority of people actually believe that texting while driving is socially unacceptable, and an even greater number of people would actually confront a driver who was driving them and texting, although the older you are the more likely you are to tell them.
It is interesting to note that if someone is asked to stop texting by someone in the car, only 10% would keep on doing it, whilst 47% would stop but would carry on later.
Pressure from others is a good solution but it depends on someone else being in the car and is generally not a long lasting solution. The best solution would obviously be to completely turn off the phone but that is not practical as people do sometimes need to pick up calls or use navigation systems. SaverOne has created an application that disables the phone in the driver’s area of the vehicle so that they are unable to use applications on their phone that may distract them. A radical but extremely effective solution that will inevitably reduce accidents and save lives.
Let’s pile on the pressure to those people who need help to break their texting whilst driving habit and where a stronger solution is needed SaverOne can provide it.