Distracted Driving: It’s Effects and How it Can Be Solved

Distracted driving is a topic quite important in today’s world. The growth of more powerful and well-connected technologies such as smart phones and entertainment systems built into automobiles have led to greater deaths every year related to distracted driving. Distracted driving is simple, and is something that happens all the time. If you have ever taken your hands off the wheel to change the radio station while driving, or looked down to see who’s calling you, you have been distracted while driving. Even taking your mind off of driving while driving is considered a distraction, which may sound odd, as we don’t really think about driving while we do it. Just as we walk without thinking about it, driving is a subconscious activity but studies have shown that drivers who are not conscious of their actions on the road are at equal risk in getting involved in accidents as someone who talks on their cell phone or touches their CD player. Distracted driving is not very difficult to curb though and can be done immediately if proper measures are taken. The issue over cell phone usage has made driving while talking on a cell phone illegal in some states such as NY and CA. The law has helped bring down the number of fatalities due to cell phone usage, but not enough. A solution to this issue could be with the help of advanced technologies in cars and phones themselves, to limit a driver from using a cell phone over certain speeds. The risk of a fatal accident at 65mph is far greater than that at 15mph or 25mph. The integration of a cell phone with a car can allow the phone to lock itself from making any calls (except emergency calls), sending or receiving text messages, or any other form of communication. The phone itself would remain locked until the speed of the car is decreased to a level deemed safe enough to allow the driver to use the phone hands-free and still be able to drive safely. Although this solution will take some agreements between automobile manufacturers and phone manufacturers, it is definitely and feasible solution to the cell phone distraction issue. The other issue is the issue of taking hands off the wheel to manage the CD player or entertainment system in the car. Many parents with young children know that changing a CD, or a radio station every few minutes to satisfy them is all too common. Many automobile manufacturers have attempted to lower the chances of taking the hands off the wheel by including entertainment controls onto the steering wheel itself. This still sometimes involves the driver to look down or at the entertainment system to see what song is being played. An expanded solution could be to use voice activated entertainment systems that would allow for the driver or the child to change the song by just saying some voice command. This can already be done on cell phones and GPS navigation systems, so it can also be done on CD and entertainment systems. The systems themselves would than speak back to the driver to tell them what song or setting has been selected. The issues over distracted driving are widespread and destructive, but can be solved if the technology that already exists is used properly. Not only are these solutions safer for the driver, but are more of a luxury too so the driver will be safer and at more convenience.