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Brett Emison
Brett Emison
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iPhone 5 And Distracted Driving

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Some iPhone apps try to reduce distracted drivingThere has been lots of news about the iPhone 5 recently. Rumors of the iPhone 5 are rampant on the internet with estimates of the iPhone 5 release date sometime in September or October. Whether you’ve got an older version of the iPhone, the current iPhone 4 or will be upgrading to the iPhone 5 when it’s released, it is critical you don’t let the device (or other technology) distract you behind the wheel.

[Learn more: Consumer Reports Guide to Distracted Driving & Teen Safety]

Using a cell phone while driving reduces reaction time as much as a BAC above the legal limit of 0.08. I’ve written before about how distracted driving dangers have mounted as cars become an "iPhone on wheels". Distracted driving has been directly correlated with car accidents with 25% of crashes involving some sort of gadget. But there are some app developers trying to combat this effect by developing apps that aim to reduce distractions behind the wheel.

  • Distracted Driving Laws by Sugar Coded Apps. This app, billed as "[t]he little app that could save you a ticket on that summer road trip", is a bit concerning. Rather than provide a way to reduce distracted driving, the app provides a reference for distracted driving laws state-by-state. I worry that the app may actually encourage distracted driving in states without anti-phone and anti-texting laws for drivers or encourage drivers in states with bans to attempt to hide their distracted driving, which might actually make things worse.
  • JustDrive by JustDrive, LLC. This app allows a parent or guardian to monitor the driving habits of another and sends daily emails alerting the "admin" of the phone user’s violations in order to build safer driving habits. This app won’t prevent distracted driving, but provides a means to monitor driving habits.
  • DriveWise: Tech by MediaQuake. This app aims to prevent distracted driving by reading popular web sites and blogs to the driver (like a personalized radio news channel) with only one tap and without requiring the driver to take her eyes off the road.
  • BuzzVoice! by MediaQuake. Made by the same developer as DriveWise, this app also pulls stories off of the users media feeds and reads them aloud. Reviews indicate this app requires a few more taps than DriveWise, and thus, may provide additional distractions.
  • SAFECELLapp by W2W LLC. SAVECELLapp rewards safe drivers with cash-equivalent rewards at popular retailers. The app tracks the user’s position, warns of local no-text and no-cell users and warns the user of potential illegality of picking up the phone. A driving history function allows users or parents to monitor driving habits.
  • Griffin DriveSafe by Griffin Technology. The Griffin app is similar to "Distracted Driving Laws". Griffin DriveSafe won’t actually monitor or improve your driving habits, but will provide summaries of distracted driving laws. The app states: "DriveSafe won’t make you a better driver. Only you can do that."
  • Dangers of Distracted Driving by SJC Web Design LLC. This app explains the dynamics of distracted driving and offers lessons learned through case studies.

For Android users, Sprint has released an Android app, Sprint Drive First, to help drivers stay off the phone and focus on the road when behind the wheel.

While none of these apps eliminate distracted driving dangers (and leaving discussions of privacy concerns to another day), these apps are at least a start to reducing distractions while behind the wheel. To paraphrase the Griffin app, these apps won’t make you a safer driver. Only you can do that.

[More iPhone news by iPhoneJD]

[More on the dangers of Distracted Driving]

(c) Copyright 2011 Brett A. Emison

1 Comment

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  1. Mark Bello says:
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    Brett: Important safety information to all of us who look down at our phones, look up at traffic and see no one in front of us and say: “well, I’ll only do it this once”. It may be the last thing we ever do. The email, the text, the outgoing or incoming phone call, none is worth serious injury or death. These apps sound like a start, but pulling over and stopping to use your mobile device is still your safest bet. Thanks for sharing this valuable information. Regards, Mark

    P.S. Can’t wait for the “5”; yes, I admit it; I am an IPHONE junkie.