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Relying on Technology to Prevent Distracted Driving Accidents

Casey Woodruff

texting while drivingWe know that distracted driving—from talking or texting on a smartphone to inputting data into a GPS device—can result in a serious car accident in Chicago. We also know that technology advances have been providing us with more tools for safer driving, particularly when it comes to new automobile features. But why is there a seeming lag in technology when it comes to developing automobile devices and accessories intended to prevent distracted driving crashes? According to a recent article in EETimes, an online magazine for the global electronics community, technology innovators need to do more to develop tools to stop inattentive driving.

How Tech Startups Can Address Distracted Driving

One of the first issues on most minds when we think about distracted driving prevention is regulation. Some people believe that if more regulations and government mandates were put in place to limit smartphone use while driving, we would see fewer auto accidents happening. But if we look beyond the possibilities of state and federal law, do other options exist to curb inattentive driving accidents? The EETimes article notes that there are indeed a handful of tech startup companies that are “zeroing in on technology solutions to prevent distracted and drunk driving.”

Some of those companies are focusing on new ways to record a driver’s behavior. For example, the startups Driversiti and Nauto believe that, by recording a driver’s record behind the wheel and sending it off for analysis, drivers can have a better sense of whether they are really paying enough attention to the road. In addition, the analytics might be able to demonstrate to drivers that they have a number of near-misses on a regular basis due to distractions. These  methodologies focus on “the big data era” and the ways in which large amounts of data can help individuals to understand their roles in potentially dangerous behavior.

When it comes to limiting drunk driving, other tech startups have different ideas. For example, one startup known as Sober Steering requires the installation of biosensors in the steering wheel. Those biosensors can identify a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) just by touch.  If the driver’s BAC is over the legal limit, Sober Steering can alert local authorities so that the driver does not do harm on the road.

Systems using biosensors are not the only ones available aimed at preventing drinking and driving. Another example is a system known as Motion Intelligence. Through Motion Intelligence, an automobile system samples the air in the vehicle. If it senses the presence of alcohol, it can prevent a driver from getting onto the highway. As the CEO of that company explained, “alcohol is lighter than air, so you need a sensor not on a steering wheel but above a driver.”

Can Smartphones Actually Prevent Distracted Driving Collisions?

As odd as it might sound given that smartphones are one of the primary sources of distracted driving accidents, some companies have been developing apps aimed at putting a halt to inattentive driving. For instance, “Cellcontrol” is a product that disables texting (and other smartphone use) while driving, and it can give parents updates on their teens’ driving habits.

In short, we may be able to rely on technology to help prevent distracted driving and drunk driving accidents. In the meantime, if you or someone you love sustained injuries in a traffic collision, you should discuss your case with an experienced Chicago car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact Woodruff Johnson & Evans today to learn more about your options.

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