What can cell phone manufactures do to deter distracted driving?

Ivy K

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There has been a great surge in the number of accidents and fatal incidents occurring on U.S. roads. All motor vehicle owners are aware of the risks that accompany driving – especially while under the influence. Whether it be driving while intoxicated, under the influence of drugs or even while distracted, such diversions prove to be costly because one’s judgment, alertness, and concentration are equally impaired. Yet people daily continue to engage in such activities with little to no regard for the consequences that may follow. After many tragic occurrences across the country that have claimed the lives of innocent victims, various mobile manufacturers have been vigorously lambasted for not doing enough on their part to hinder drivers from using their products while driving. It is true that companies such as Samsung, Apple, and the likes have a responsibility of ensuring their products are safe for consumers to use, however, in hindsight, it is a driver’s obligation to practice safe driving while behind the wheel. Essentially, drivers can be distracted by various factors – food, noise and even other passengers – however, under such circumstances, it becomes rather difficult to ensure who is to blame. Often while in the passenger’s seat, I have had a full view of observing drivers driving erratically, phone in hand, completely oblivious to their changing surroundings. In such instances, I always wish there could be a way to notify someone in higher authority that such an individual is putting other people’s lives in jeopardy. It may be difficult to solely blame phone manufacturers, but this alarming trend raises questions about product liability and the efforts made by phone companies to hinder drivers from texting while driving. Yes, people are distracted by things other than texting however, there has been a spike in the number of vehicle crashes that can be tied back to distraction from a mobile device. Moreover, such distractions are not as prevalent as using smartphones while driving. Cell phone manufacturers need to realize that people come before profits. If it means a few beta test failures of passengers in cars, buses or even trains being accidentally locked out from texting because the phone software has not yet discerned the difference between a driver and a passenger, then so be it. In the meantime, better measures can be implemented within states that completely outlaw the use of phones – except for hands-free if truly necessary. Unfortunately, because smartphone manufacturers have refused to spearhead this crucial issue by withholding the existent patents that, if enforced and implemented across all devices, would save countless lives, other alternatives have been created. Some applications (after enabling) completely block off all incoming calls and texts, while others read the text, email and even calls aloud, thus aiming to eliminate the urge for a driver to avert their eyes from the road. Other creators have taken it a step further by inventing apps that have the necessary technology that can gather up any information that will prove a distracted driver was at fault. Similar to breathalyzers, this proposed ‘textalyzer’ will help authorities determine whether cell use could’ve been the reason for a crash to occur, while at the same time, upholding a person’s privacy by not showing the specific content that was accessed during that time. Driving still remains a privilege that comes with immense responsibility on the driver’s part and not other third-parties, therefore, regulations should be enforced by all parties to ensure people are safe while on the road.