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Technology, plus focused driving, can reduce accidents

Distracted driving is a big problem all across the United States. Because driver distraction is a primary cause of collisions, it's important to nip the problem in the bud when young people are learning to drive.

In another southern state, driver's education courses have begun incorporating simulator technologies to emphasize the scope of the problem and its repercussions.

On a digital driving course, students are faced with simulated incidents that cover the spectrum of distracted driving behaviors — preoccupation with pedestrian actions, drinking and eating behind the wheel, reading road signs, etc. The big bugaboo, texting while driving, is also included, with one student remarking, "I most definitely don't want to do it, because I ran off the road a couple of times."

Technology also produced cellphone apps intended to keep drivers focusing on the road. They include:

  • Live2Txt: This Android app delays texts or calls until it's turned off.
  • AT&T's Drivemode: As soon as a vehicle is in motion, the functions on the phone are limited.
  • Canary: This app monitors all smartphone activities when drivers are at the wheel.
  • DriveOFF: When the vehicle reaches speeds of 10 mph, it shuts the phone off.

Collision prevention technology that can save drivers' lives is now standard issue in many new model vehicles.

For example, Toyota produces vehicles equipped with pre-collision systems. By using lasers and radars connected to the vehicles' cruise control settings, the system is able to detect when drivers are coming up on another car or an obstacle at a speed indicating they are unaware of its presence. Audio cues, like a beeping noise, are heard by the driver.

Some of the newest technological advances can even stop the vehicle if necessary. A corollary of this system is the lane departure assistant, which will physically redirect a car back in the lane it should be traveling if the driver zones out and drifts from his or her lane.

All the technology helps to save lives, but accidents will still occur. If you were injured by a distracted driver, you may decide to pursue compensation from the at-fault driver's insurance company.

Source: WLOX, "New technology helps prevent distracted driving accidents," Jonathan Brannan, Aug. 31, 2017

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Brian Jensen

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