New-Technology-Stop-Distracted-DrivingMany authorities on road safety lament the use of technology behind the wheel. Cell phones, GPS systems and even your stereo have all been cited as disastrous distractions and taken the blame for numerous accidents of late. With smartphones making their way into the mix, drivers have a whole new slew of opportunities for distraction besides just normal calls, including text messages, emails, games and social media interruptions.

Some states have already outlawed texting while driving, whereas countries like the UK have placed an outright ban on total cell phone use while behind the wheel. One accident attorney Dallas based lists distracted driving as one of the most common reasons for an accident. Given the negative press that mobile phones are receiving in relation to their use by drivers, is there anything that can be done to prevent those behind the wheel from engaging their cell phone?

The Use of Passive Techology

According to a recent study conducted by graduate students at Steven’s Institute of Technology, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration identified that cell phone use was the cause of automobile accidents that resulted in 995 fatalities and 24,000 injuries in 2009 alone. Their findings made them push on to look for new ways to introduce “passive technology” to the mobile phone industry, where the phone could identify that someone was driving and have automatic locks or hands free options kick in.

This kind of technology is not too far off in the future, and many cell phone companies are looking for new ways to keep their customers safe behind the wheel while still being able to use their products. If you’re concerned about you or your family members putting themselves in harm’s way by using technology while driving, there are a few things you can do to keep yourself safe.

Use technology wisely while driving.

Using new tech gear while driving doesn’t have to be a distraction if engaged in a safe way. Make a pact with yourself that anything that takes your attention away from your driving shouldn’t be used. For example, replying to texts, emails or even programming your GPS system. For example, if you’re driving around an unfamiliar city like Dallas, trying to program a GPS system on the fly can only lead to an accident. If it can’t wait, then take the time to pull over. Even though you may be stuck in traffic, you still need to be aware and alert of what’s going on around you.

Go hands free when possible.

When you’re driving, it’s important to keep both hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. By purchasing a mount for your cell phone and using the hands free options available on it, you can still take those important calls while minimizing the distractions of juggling a phone. If you have a lot of texts or emails coming in, look at apps that can read these to you, rather than you having to take your eyes away from the task at hand. Some apps can even serve as a dictation device for you to send replies.

Download apps that can help you as a driver.

There are some great applications out there that can help you know when you’ve had too many to be driving, as well as assist you with an accident. Portable breathalyzers now use smartphone technology to monitor your alcohol use and let you know when you’re not fit to drive.

This can save you from ending up in jail and having to call a DUI lawyer. Additionally, look into applications that can help you with the aftermath of an accident. Simply load in your information before you even hit the road, and these apps can put you in touch with emergency services, take witness statements and go through a step-by-step process to gather all the information your insurance company and attorney may need.

Technology behind the wheel doesn’t have to be the distraction that it’s made out to be. In fact, it can help drivers if used correctly. Determine how distracted you are when you’re driving and using your cell phone, GPS system or even changing the track on your stereo. Knowing what your own personal threshold is can help keep you safe.   

Writer Melanie Fleury knows how easy it is to be distracted by the sounds of her smart phone while driving. While after reading the blog posts of one accident attorney Dallas based on several tragic accidents caused by distracted driving, she has become more diligent about putting her phone away while on the road and hopes that others will do the same.