How to fix the problem of distracted and reckless driving?
There is a fine line between personal freedom and social responsibility but I believe that the damage to society caused by distracted and reckless driving (accidental deaths and injuries, property damage) and the privilege of driving granted by society warrant some intrusion on personal freedom. Therefore, I would propose merging the existing technologies in smart phones and the “black box” driving performance recorders used in the trucking industry into a smart phone application. The smart phone GPS can trace driving routes, speeds versus posted speed limits, unwarranted acceleration or hard braking, perhaps even frequent weaving or lane changes, time behind the wheel or between driving breaks, time of day (including teenaged driver limitations on night time driving), weather related driving adjustments, etc. One alternative is for the smart phone to communicate unsafe driving only to the driver on a voluntary basis via voice communication. Another alternative already used by some automobile insurance companies is to provide financial incentives in the form of reduced or rebated car insurance premiums for accumulated safe driving records as recorded by the driver’s smart phone. Again, this would be voluntary but the financial incentive might actually induce drivers to participate. Also, smart phone application add-ons that would alert individuals texting or calling the driver that the driver will get back to them at the completion of the journey or next stop (engine shut-off) are already available but should be much more prominently featured and easier to use on smart phones. Use of these features would provide additional “points” for the insurance premium reduction or rebate scheme. Any violation of the “no texting while driving” rules as recorded by smart phones are already available to law enforcement but wouldn’t it be great to be rewarded for following the rules (positive reinforcement). Traffic courts could compel first-time or repeat offenders to use this technology for more direct supervision for dangerous or reckless driving. This might allow individuals who otherwise would lose their driving privileges to still get to work or other approved trips while communicating any violations directly to the police.