Distracted driving is a very real danger. Even though it’s common knowledge that you shouldn’t use a smartphone while driving, 1 in every 4 automobile accidents involves texting, snapping, sharing or talking on a mobile device. That equates to more than 1 million crashes every year; accidents related to distracted driving kill 8 people and injure 1,200 every day in the U.S alone.
What is being done to help prevent the avoidable tragedy of distracted driving? There is new technology in the form of smartphone apps available to help reduce the rate of distracted driving by helping you keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. Some apps use incentives to practice safe driving, and some block you from using your phone; what they all have in common is to keep your attention off your phone and on the road.
Here are 4 distracted driving apps that are recommended by the DMV. They recommend that you consider the following criteria when determining the right app for you:
(iPhone and Android) The Lifesaver app locks your smartphone while you’re driving. You can set it to allow incoming calls and GPS navigation. It also reports teenagers’ driving habits to their parents. Lifesaver will let people you designate know when you’ve arrived safely. It stays silent in the background and automatically recognizes when you are in the car driving. It offers a dashboard that will give you points and rewards for safe driving. Emergency and passenger unlock features are built-in. There is a commercial fleet version to help managers monitor the driving performance of their fleet drivers. Requires phone services that include a data plan.
(iPhone and Android) Although this app was designed by AT&T, it is available to anyone who wants to use it. The DriveMode app blocks texting or talking on the phone while driving and adheres to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) safety standards. It can be set up to block use of the smartphone when the car exceeds 15 miles per hour (mph). It can be set up to notify parents if a teen user deactivates the app or changes the settings. It offers a streamlined approach to hands-free features such as voice-enabled commands, broad strokes and large buttons for easy use while driving. You can set up auto-replies to incoming text messages and pairs with Bluetooth devices. You can also set up a dashboard to give rewards for safe driving behaviors. This app has received over 1 million downloads and has a 4.5 user rating.
(iPhone and Android) This app is especially great for families who enjoy competition! It offers a unique “trip score” feature that rates each driver on overall safe driving behavior and gives feedback on times you may have been driving while distracted. It has a built in “comparison” with other family members as well as a trip history. This is especially helpful for teens who are just getting used to driving without a licensed driver in the car.
(iPhone and Android) This app harnesses the power of the sensors in your smartphone to automatically detect when you’re driving and measures how safe you drive by giving each driving session a zero to 100 score. The app allows family members to check on the location of the driver and lets them know when you’ve safely arrived to your destination. Trips are tracked automatically, so there’s no need to engage with the app while driving. Detailed information about events during the trip – such as possible distracted driving, speeding or aggressive driving – are accessible through the app. Contests with rewards for safe driving can be set up by each family group.
Check out these great apps to help give your family members incentives for refraining from distracted and unsafe driving practices. Of course, a smartphone app can only go so far when it comes to distracted driving. The best way to protect drivers in your family is to keep the conversation going about the importance of focusing on the road while behind the wheel. And, when it comes to avoiding other distracted drivers on the road, remember to stay alert and drive defensively.
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