The Final Choice
The solution: Distracted driving boils down to the fact that our cell phones are addicting machines that we use constantly. This reality united with the fact that we drive these huge vehicles around at alarming speeds comes together into a situation where the choice for disaster—and even death—looms within reach. The solution I propose is a simple one that removes the choice of distracted driving when cell phones are involved. Pass a law that cell phone makers, in partnership with cell phone carriers, have to add a piece of software to all cell phones that only allows us to use our cell phones when we are not in a car. This software could rely on multiple things, GPS, cell signal (as the phone moves the cell will pull with different strength from different cell towers), wifi connectivity, and Bluetooth. The phone could use multiple variations of these inputs to determine when the user is driving or in a car (i.e. when it sees that you’re no longer connected to your home wifi it would kick in the software). The software would have to be installed onto all smartphones, currently used and newly manufactured, and have to be adopted into the phone operating system itself so as to keep people from just deleting an app when they want to text and drive. This would have to be in the form of a software update to all cell phones. Preferably, someone would be locked out of their phone unless they perform this update so as to ensure all phones are now safe. Once the software is installed on the user’s phone, it would notify the owner that all cellular transmission, with the exception of navigation/GPS, will be terminated as soon as the phone recognizes it is in a car. The hardest part of this change is that even passengers couldn’t use their phone while in the car. Possibly, there could be a way to show the software that the phone is being used by a passenger and not a driver. Some form of verification perhaps, but I am not sure of a successful way to implement this facet at this time. It could be too easy for a driver to bypass this safeguard and still be a distracted driver. However, there could be an immense benefit to this plan being executed. It would keep all phones from being a distraction while driving allowing the driver to not worry about the potential of being a distracted driver with their cell phone. The benefit of more focused driving alone would be worth not being able to make phone calls while in a car.
Some background: distracted driving is something I have a daily struggle with and some minor history with. It is hard not to text someone while I’m driving as it feels urgent. My history is that while I was texting in my dad’s car I hit the front corner of his car into a parked truck. The truck was unharmed, but I had to replace the side fender on my dad’s car. It shook me up for a month or so but I went back to choosing to use my phone while driving. This realization of how easy it is to choose to be distracted while driving is fueling my solution.