Eyes on the Road

Michelle H

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Nowadays when phones and technology are such a prevalent part of our day to day lives, many people cannot imagine a life, or ten minutes without their phones. Communication before cell phones consists of mail or face to face communication. This would sometimes take months. Cell phones and technology in this day and age are extremely powerful and the capabilities are endless. Amazon came to the market with Alexa, the personal assistant entirely voice controlled. Many people rely on GPS for navigation. To keep eyes on the road when using this tool, there are voiced commands that tell you exactly where to go plenty time in advance of your next exit. But every virtue has a vice. Distracted driving is responsible for many unnecessary, prevented deaths today. With the capabilities of technology, there are solutions to prevent this. Most smartphones have personal assistants that are voice activated such as Siri and Google assistant. Many people use voice typing instead of actually typing. This is a solution to the texting and driving. Smartphone companies and auto companies need come together to construct a solution. I believe a solution lies with smartphones themselves. Personal assistants designed for when the user is behind the wheel could limit the time eyes are not focused on the road. The phone will automatically recognize the car and sync with it. The phone can automatically lock the screen so the driver cannot browse social media or play games. The phone screen will unlock when the car is put in park. When the phone receives a text message or a phone call, a personal assistant can announce it to the driver so the driver will have no reason to look at the screen, thus keeping eyes on the road. The driver can request their personal assistant to read the message, and the driver can reply to the message by talking also. Some people may argue this itself is a form of distracted driving. But I argue the driver’s eyes stay on the road and the only thing the driver is doing is talking. A GPS gives directions, family and friends have conversations and play games in the car, and the radio plays tunes throughout the trip; these are all activities the driver participates in while driving. These activities are no safer or less dangerous than verbally replying to a text via a personal assistant. Sometimes the solution to a problem lies within the problem itself. Many people would suggest locking the phone away. But the practicality of every vehicle not using their phone once on a trip is very slim. Also for many busy people who need to take advantage of every moment of the day, their phone is necessary to do so. This is a very reasonable way to ensure eyes on the road while also allowing communication. I believe this is the solution to distracted driving.