Cell phone distracted driving is slowly taking its place as the main cause of traffic accidents. US studies indicate that 660,000 drivers attempt to use their cell phones at any given moment whilst driving. The price of this irresponsible act is all too high – 1.6 million traffic accidents annually in the US alone that take the lives of 3,500 people and injure an additional 391,000 – and all as a result of this problem (sources: carsurance.net, CDC, association for safe int. road travel).
The ramifications of cell phone distracted driving exceed the bounds of physical damage and affect the broader economy. For example, employers spend $60 billion annually on expenses related to employee accidents caused by cell phones, and car insurers have seen an increase of 7,944% in premium rates since 2011.
Various governments and authorities across the globe are attempting to combat this trend in different ways. In the US, most states have passed legislation with varying levels of severity prohibiting cell phone use while driving; including fines for deterrence. However, there is currently scant evidence indicating the effectiveness of such laws.
A similar regulatory trend can also be observed. The Sheffer Committee, established by the Israel National Road Safety Authority, determined that the use of cell phones while driving increases the risk of traffic accidents by a factor of ten. It suggested a number of technological solutions – including the SaverOne system; together with stronger enforcement. (Source: The Smartphone committee)
The European Union have reached a provisional political agreement whereby, as of 2022, each car will be required to install internal sensors to prevent distracted driving.(Source: political agreement on the revised General Safety Regulation) In addition, the NHTSA determined that any solution for the issue of driver distraction must comply with three conditions: distinguishing between the driver’s area and the rest of the car, independent of driver cooperation, and selective blocking of mobile apps.(Source: NHTSA Driver Distraction Guidelines)
Novel Technological Developments
Many technology companies and ventures around the world have also introduced developments attempting to combat reckless cell phone use, including voice-activated solutions. However, thus far, no significant progress has been noted. Moreover, various studies have found that the visual and vocal features used by most apps only further distract the drivers.
Addressing the Addiction
One of the major explanations for the lack of success in stopping driver distraction is cell phone addiction. According to Wikipedia “Problematic use can include preoccupation with mobile communication, excessive money or time spent on mobile phones, and use of mobile phones in socially or physically inappropriate situations such as driving an automobile. Increased use can also lead to increased time on mobile communication, adverse effects on relationships, and anxiety if separated from a mobile phone or sufficient signal.”
In South Korea, a government survey indicated that 18% of young adults and 9% of adults suffer from cell phone addiction; while the UK has named itself a cell phone addicted country, with 60% of teenagers suffering from it.
This state of affairs requires a different tactic to combat cell phone distracted driving. The attempts to prevent cell phone use while driving, using means dependent on driver cooperation, are insufficient. Dealing with cell phone addiction and its effect over road safety requires means similar to those taken with regards to any other addiction.
A New Approach to Cell phone Distracted Driving
SaverOne is the world’s first system offering an effective solution for cell phone addiction. The system, which includes a control unit concealed in the car, activates automatically upon entry. Once the system identifies cell phones located near the driver, an application is activated, initiating Safemode – a mode blocking the use of life-threatening apps.
Being independent of driver cooperation, and without the option to bypass the blocking, SaverOne allows the driver to focus on driving free of distractions. The addition of smart features confers maximum flexibility in authorizing or blocking apps, remote monitoring and control abilities, without affecting other passengers’ cell phones. These all converge to significantly decrease road accidents and the damage they cause, while highly improving car fleet management capabilities.
While promoting road safety and saving human lives, SaverOne can also save organizations, insurance companies and drivers billions of dollars annually.
Initial pilots conducted with employees of large organizations in Israel, reinforce these estimates. Both managers and employees have reported a safe driving experience, significant improvement in their levels of driving concentration and quick adjustment to the change in their driving habits.
The battle against cell phone distracted driving is one of the main challenges in the battle for road safety. Past experience indicates the need to change dominant paradigms, examine new approaches and solutions, and consider this issue from different perspectives. Concentrating on key issues such as cell phone addiction, will facilitate the efficient means for facing the challenge of preventing life-threatening actions, resulting in the prevention of millions of accidents each year.