In most situations, a smartphone is more of a distraction than it is an aid to safe driving. The circumstances that correlate with especially heavy smartphone usage at the wheel underscore the potential for distractions; the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that gig workers (like those who drive others or make deliveries) are four times more likely to use smartphone apps regularly while driving. In addition, driver distraction accounted for about 8% of all traffic fatalities during 2020. While apps can certainly be distracting, there are a few safe driving apps that actually promote safe driving and attempt to decrease distractions. If you are like many in Tennessee who have been involved in an accident with a distracted driver, contact Shepherd and Long, PC, to review your legal options. Call (865) 982-8060 for more information or to schedule an appointment.
The Problem with Distracted Driving in Tennessee
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, reading or sending just one text can take your eyes off the road for about five seconds. If a driver is traveling 55 miles per hour, they travel about as far as a full football field in that time, without looking at the road.
Common Consequences of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving can cause a number of problems. Drivers are more likely to engage in the following behaviors when they are distracted.
- Speeding or traveling too fast for the conditions
- Missing turning signals or brake lights on other vehicles
- Missing traffic signals and stop signs
- Reacting inappropriately to hazards on the road
Distraction as Impairment in Driving
Distracted driving is often an even bigger issue for teen drivers, who usually have the least experience behind the wheel. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies the following types of driver distraction:
- Visual distraction, which involves taking one’s eyes from the road
- Manual distraction, which happens when a driver removes one or both hands from the wheel
- Cognitive distraction, which consists of inattention while driving
Smartphone use often involves all three types of distracted driving, especially when using an app or texting. However, even talking on the phone while driving can be dangerous. According to a study by the University of Utah, drivers who are on the phone are as impaired as drivers who are intoxicated at the legal limit of .08 blood alcohol content. Ultimately, distracted driving is a factor in many accidents and contributes to many injuries and fatalities annually.
Safe Driving Apps To Download Today
Because of widespread concerns about distracted driving, app makers have developed several options to decrease distractions and, hopefully, increase highway safety. Below are a few safe driving apps that drivers may want to consider downloading. For more safe driving tips or to address an accident caused by distracted driving, consider contacting Shepherd and Long, PC.
DriveMode silences notifications and phone calls once it senses that a driver is moving over 15 miles per hour. This app can also send out auto replies to let others know that the person who is driving cannot reply or answer their phone right now.
Users can still utilize music features and navigation tools while the app is activated. To minimize the risk of manual distraction, DriveMode can function using voice controls instead of requiring taps. Activating DriveMode also makes other commonly used driving apps (like music and navigation) larger and easier to see so drivers can find necessary driving tools quickly and easily. The app even has a parent-friendly feature that lets parents know when their children disable or turn the app off. DriveMode is free and available for both Apple and Android.
The LifeSaver app is a tracking system that runs in the background of a phone. This system activates only when someone starts driving. The app then blocks the ability to use the phone while driving and also automatically provides others with alerts when the driver arrives at their destination.
One unique aspect of LifeSaver is that it offers a reward system for good driving. The app has a parent portal and can also be used by commercial fleet operators to help discourage distracted driving for their team. LifeSaver can provide periodic reporting so parents and employers know whether their drivers are safe on the road. This free app is specifically designed to break unsafe driving habits by providing encouraging rewards.
This family-oriented app scores driver while they travel. A family is added as a group, and each driver can see others’ scores to encourage some friendly competition for safe driving. The app will provide scores on things like acceleration, hard braking, whether someone is speeding, and phone distractions. This safe driving app is available for Android and Apple products at no charge.
The OnMyWay app provides cash rewards for safe driving. Essentially, the app will reward users for every mile they drive without using their phones. OnMyWay automatically disables a phone once the driver is traveling over 10 miles per hour. However, the app incorporates Bluetooth connectivity and voice commands to ensure that the driver still has control over their phone while also minimizing distractions. This free app integrates conveniently with Google Maps and Spotify.
Do Not Disturb Feature
Although not an app, most smartphones today have a Do Not Disturb Feature. This feature blocks notifications, including texts and calls, so drivers are not tempted to check their phones because they have received a notification. Some operating systems, including iOS 11 and later, have a setting that will automatically engage Do Not Disturb mode when it senses that the user is driving.
Safe 2 Save
Safe 2 Save is another rewards app that gives drivers points for every minute of safe driving while traveling over 10 miles per hour. This incentive program allows users to redeem points at their favorite businesses. They can also set up competitions with friends and family to see who the safest driver is. This app is also free and connects with many local businesses in Tennessee, depending on your area.
Car Mode for Other Apps
Many apps have a driving mode. These modes have larger buttons, fewer features, and voice command activations to decrease the likelihood that drivers must engage extensively with their phones to make the app function while driving. Examples of apps that have this feature include:
- Amazon Music
- Apple Maps
- Google Maps
These features can be extremely useful. Many will turn on automatically once they detect that a user may be driving.
Get Help After an Accident
Even if you are using one of these safe driving apps, accidents can still happen. Other drivers may not be as safe as you, which can lead to injuries and property damage. When you need legal help after an accident, consider contacting the Tennessee car accident lawyers at Shepherd and Long, PC by calling (865) 982-8060.