According to the National Safety Council, last year more than 40,000 people died in traffic accidents in the United States – a figure that has been steadily rising over the past several years – while nearly 4.6 million people required medical attention. Weather, age, fatigue, drunk driving, speeding, and that 21st century epidemic, distracted driving, all played a part in driving accident numbers up. While it is not always possible to control for the actions of others, we can significantly reduce our chances of being involved in an accident by eliminating several of the most dangerous factors via a tool that we all carry in our pockets and purses – our phones. Yes, the very device that causes so much distraction and destruction can also be used to help save lives.
Too drunk or tired to drive? Well-known apps like Uber and Lyft, for which everyday people provide taxi-like service in their personal vehicles, have already become must-haves for those planning a long night out. If the idea of riding in a stranger’s car bothers you – and there have been some concerning incidents with both of these services – Curb provides access to traditional taxis in an ever-expanding list of cities, including Miami.
Everybody knows that texting while driving is dangerous, and that we should all wait to send messages until we have arrived at our destination. Realistically, however, many people use their cell phones while driving. If you have difficulty ignoring the endless alerts that pop up on your phone, a little bit of electronically-enforced self-control can go a long way towards protecting you and your loves ones. For AT&T customers, the Drive Mode app silences text alerts, automatically replies to messages, and is smart enough to turn itself on and off depending on the speed of the vehicle. It also has parenting tools to let you know if the young driver in your household is not using the app. Sprint’s Drive First app does much the same for their customers. If your service provider does not offer a similar app, third-party solutions like Cellcontrol can fill the void. Alternate approaches are taken by apps like SafeDrive, which rewards you for not using the phone, and Drivemode (not to be confused with the aforementioned AT&T app) which gives Android users hands-free control over many popular apps and phone functions. The list of anti-distraction apps is growing by leaps and bounds, so if these particular ones do not appeal to you, a quick search of your device’s App Store will reveal many other options.
Aside from the family-friendly functions included in the above apps, there is an entire subgenre of road safety apps specifically geared towards monitoring and protecting our youngest drivers. Leading the pack is the highly regarded TrueMotion, which allows you to track your teen’s location, route, phone use, and more, while also making a contest of who in the family is the safest driver. Your teen may not appreciate this “Big Brother” approach to parenting, but that is a moral choice – and debate – we leave to you. Alternatively, the Milez app takes a “carrot” approach, allowing you to reward your teen with cash for safe driving.
Flo uses GPS to give you real time feedback on your driving, letting you know if you are accelerating smoothly, breaking easily, and engaging in other behaviors that are hallmarks of good driving. If that seems distracting in and of itself, Everdrive works in the background while you drive and allows you to review your skills after you have completed a trip. The app also includes a mode to let you compete with friends and family to see who is the best driver. Lastly, Driving 101 for Android does not monitor anything at all; instead, it provides useful daily driving tips.
The list of driver safety apps is ever-growing, but many are from small mom-and-pop developers and may not be as feature-laden or user-friendly as the more established apps in the category. As with any other app, be sure to consider the user reviews before downloading. And should you find yourself involved in an accident that requires legal assistance, we at the the Blaut Weiss Law Group have more than 60 years of combined personal injury and property damage experience. Schedule a free consultation at www.blautweiss.com/contact.php.