The numbers do not lie: 37,150 people in the US died due to distracted driving in 2017. But, sadly that is not the worst part of the news. Researchers are finding that there is no single cause to preventing distracted driving.
This means that there is no direct route to a solution resulting in more and more deaths. Right now, the only thing proven to work is to spread awareness about distracted driving.
Another thing that experts are deciding to try is how to make smartphone connectivity to cars to take less attention. Almost every new car on the market makes it easy to connect your phone to your car.
You are able to stream music, map directions, and in some cases even order food, coffee, etc. This is taking many drivers' attention away from the road, in drivers aged 17 to 22 spend at least 12% of their time behind the wheel messing with their smart phones. Any percentage of time on your phone behind the wheel is too much time directed away from the road.
Both Apple and Android have their own extensions for cars. At one point Apple demanded more of customers' attention than the Android version when entering directions and getting from one place to another. But, when it came to texting Android was by far more of a distraction. However, both must make a change to reduce the threat of distracted driving.
With all of the new tech in cars, come inward facing cameras. Some people are not okay with that for privacy reasons which is understandable as to a degree, it is a basic right, in most peoples' eyes. However, these cameras may help develop self-driving cars with the data it collects. Additionally, it may be our answer to solving the distracted driving epidemic.
The data the cameras collected from crashes and everyday driving habits can be analyzed by experts to determine how to make the new technology in vehicles less cognitively demanding or even develop an algorithm to prevent inappropriate use while the vehicle is in motion.
But, how much privacy are consumers really willing to give up? How much of their data are companies entitled to? Right now, there is not much regulation, but it is probably coming soon as new cars will soon all have this technology.
There must be some type of compromise because when this data is used appropriately, breakthroughs can happen. For example, a lot of the tracking built into these cars can prevent crimes. A lot of the data provided can solve the mystery of crashes, including distracted driving crashes and provoke ideas on how to prevent them. The results can save money on auto insurance, medical bills, and most importantly lives which are priceless.
However, it is ultimately up to drivers to stop practicing distracted driving habits. Remember, distracted driving does not only come from cell phone and car functions taking your eyes off of the road. It also includes eating, drinking, putting on makeup and more. It must be put to an end to reduce the number of accidents and casualties.