How Technology can help prevent and reduce accidents caused by distracted driving.

Allen J

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Distracted driving is a major issue when considering one’s safety on the road. Distracted driving can be caused by many things, passengers in the vehicle can be distracting, music playing too loud over the radio, or more normally these days, cell phones and texting. Though it is arguable that the advancement of technology has in some part caused distracted driving, it could be one of the best ways to reduce or even stop it. One of the most futuristic ways of solving this problem is relatively simple (from an outsider’s perspective) do not have the distractible people drive at all. This could end up being the true solution, but most likely not the quickest as advancements into self-driving robotic vehicles is still under heavy research. However, if the technology was developed, this solution would be perhaps the most simple to be accepted as it would not require people to have to be regulated in their conduct while driving. A slightly less futuristic approach could be to have sensors installed in vehicles that detect two things. The first thing these sensors would detect is how many people are in the vehicle. The second thing these sensors would detect is whether the cellphones within the vehicle were being operated. The vehicle’s onboard computer would then take these two inputs and formulate a decision. That decision would be whether or not the driver was distracted by his or her cellphone, and if they were distracted to automatically apply the brakes and bring the vehicle to a complete stop. This idea obviously has its flaws such as the sudden stop of a vehicle in the road could be just as dangerous as its driver being distracted. Therefore, the vehicle would run this check from the time of it being turned until it was turned off. This would mean that the driver would not be able to start their journey while distracted. It could also be modified to pull over before stopping. It is important to note that this idea would not be able to stop or prevent all distracted driving, only distracted driving that centered on cell phones. If the previous idea was used in conjunction with sound dampeners built into the vehicle to lower the overall volume inside, and limits on speaker volume in vehicles it could be very effective against most distracted driving. That said, an even simpler solution to cellphones could be used. One could create a system where the cellphone would not unlock while moving faster than a set speed. Another more novel idea is to have a very annoying buzzer or bell of some kind installed in vehicles. Whenever the vehicle detects the driver is using his or her phone, gives the driver some audio and vibrational stimuli. This stimulus would not stop until the driver turned off their cellphone and would immediately turn on again if the cellphone was switch back on. All laughs aside this solution is a completely plausible one to do immediately. Though each of these solutions is relatively viable until the human factor is taken out of the equation, driving will always garner risk. Therefore, the best option for eliminating distracted driving is to use self-driving vehicles. However, until self-driving vehicles are advanced enough to be sold commercially another solution will have to be found in the meantime. If not one of the other ideas outlined here perhaps several other ideas will be combined, or used in conjunction to serve as temporary solutions till a more definitive and permanent solution can be found.