Smartphones: The Problem and the Solution
The smartphones we all carry around in our back pockets these days can do almost anything: you can ask your phone for directions, how to bake chocolate chip cookies, contact anyone in your life at any instant, and our phones provide limitless entertainment through social media. But they can’t do everything. Your phone can’t, say, drive your car for you when you’re not paying attention because you’re texting someone back. Your phone can’t alert you of the kid that ran into the street in front of your car. Although they are helpful, phones are also a huge cause of distracted driving. This is not new information, but a clear solution still hasn’t been outlined, and drivers are showing no signs of putting down the phone when they’re driving. Since people aren’t going to change, our smartphones may have to change for us. iPhones already have a feature that recognizes when you’re driving, blocks notifications while you’re driving, and sends an automatic response to people who text you saying that you will get back to them later. I believe that we can take this technology a step further to help combat distracted driving habits. When the phone recognizes that you are driving, it should automatically lock so that the screen does not turn on. The voice assistant still works, and the driver can verbally communicate anything they would have needed to use their phone for. If the driver does need to look at their phone for something, they will have to make sure to do so before getting in the car rather than during the ride since their phone will not be completely functional.Since the screen will remain black for the entirety of the ride, the driver will not be able to get distracted by their phone and can keep their eyes on the road. The phone has become truly “hands-free.” Technology may be a cause for distracted driving, but we can also make it part of the solution.
I explain a potential solution to the problem of drivers looking at their phones instead of at the road. My idea actually uses smartphones themselves to minimize screen time while driving.