Distracted Drivers

Distracted Alberta drivers are a hazard. Whether they are texting behind the wheel, watching a movie while driving or eating a really messy burger, they could end up swerving into oncoming traffic or driving over a pedestrian on a crosswalk. And many of them seem to be in denial about it, no matter how many statistics show that they are a hazard. This issue needs to be taken seriously, to cut down all of these unnecessary traffic accidents.

I knew that texting and driving was a problem, but what really started me thinking about it was the day we saw a Central Alberta woman driving and watching a movie on her laptop. She had the full sized computer perched on her dash, blocking most of her vision. While she watched her movie, she was eating and chatting on her cell phone. It was an amazing display of safe driving and intelligent life.

Have you ever wondered how many people have died from texting while driving? I did a little bit of research, and found some scary statistics. Over 50% of cell phone users admit to texting behind the wheel. There are plenty of studies that examined this issue, to find out that texting is indeed dangerous. These same studies show that any cell phone calls, handheld or otherwise, reduce the vehicle operator’s ability to concentrate. It is apparent that cell phone use in vehicles leads to dangerous situations. What can society do to reduce the risks on our highways and streets?

If only there were a way to disable your cell phone so that incoming calls, texts and emails wouldn’t interrupt a driver’s concentration, you might be thinking. As a matter of fact, there is an app that works with many cell phones to do just that. The Otter app works with Android and Blackberry phones, and will soon be available for the iPhone. Users of this app can even passcode the phones of their driving aged teenagers to keep them from using their cell phone in a moving vehicle. This could be a great tool for concerned parents, or even concerned spouses! (Are you listening, honey?)

But what if you have an iPhone and you can’t use Otter yet? Another great option could be Safecell, an app which works for iPhone as well as Android powered phones. This one is my favorite, because it gives you real world rewards for good behavior. Once a registered user turns the app on, the phone tracks his or her position. Not only does this app notify you of the local laws, it discourages you from accepting texts, phone calls and emails while on the go in your vehicle. It also gives you point rewards, which can be turned in for a variety of gift certificates, vouchers and products. It’s an awesome program, well worth looking into.

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