Fatal Attraction II: Your ideas for stopping texting-while-driving

Fatal Attraction II: Your ideas for stopping texting-while-driving

Last week we asked “What’s your idea to stop texting-while-driving?” Responses (thank you!) fell into two general categories: consequences and technology. Here are a couple of the comments.

  • “Saw a sign in FLORIDA last month. ‘Honk if you love Jesus. Text while driving if you want to meet him!’”
  • “Disable the phone while the vehicle is moving.”
  • “Would need to disable all phones once the engine is engaged. I saw a woman texting and smoking while driving…you can’t legislate common sense or have enough watchdogs to prevent it…using a phone is a privilege should not be a license to kill”
  • “No insurance money paid for claim if u were texting”
  • “They are still doing it in NH even though there is a law against it. Phone companies should not have texting option on phones period.”

Well, the genie is out of the bottle in terms of removing texting from phones. It also seems that the threat of adverse consequences won’t be sufficient – particularly for those youngsters who believe they are invincible and have the attention span of a squirrel. So, if we take threats off the table as being effective, we’re left with technological solutions and absolutely certain consequences.

Auto manufacturers today are basically developing computers that happen to have four wheels and an engine – internet savvy means of transportation. Manufacturers, as well as developers of cell technology, own this problem of texting-while-driving and they CAN find a solution including retro-fitting vehicles if that’s what’s necessary.

Consider this: The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to be the next BIG THING. In fact, it’s already here. IoT is all about data gathering from a multitude of sensors and geo-location mapping. With that aggregated information, computers can automatically perform analysis and deploy solutions. In fact, some models of higher-priced cars currently correct steering, apply brakes, signal that traffic is in your blind spot and perform parallel parking. On the cell side of technology, if you ask Siri or Google Voice to find a nearby gas station, it will provide options, distance and directions. If all that’s currently possible, surely your car and cell phone can be made to block the ability to text while driving.

For example, a smart phone should be able to sense when you are operating a vehicle particularly if all vehicles and phones are equipped with sensors that measure phone proximity to the steering wheel or windshield.

Companies already are working on an economic incentive or penalty, depending on your behavior.

The first reply we received was a link to Censio. Censio is working on an array of intelligent technologies including “usage based insurance” or UBI. In their blog, Censio posted some very informative factors and described their smart phone technology that can change how you might be charged for insurance including surcharges for texting-while-driving:

  • Mileage
  • Location (e.g., you drive through many dangerous intersections)
  • Speeding
  • Braking (e.g., you follow other cars too closely)
  • Cornering
  • Night Driving
  • Distracted Driving (e.g., texting)

Would you take more care if you received a monthly charge for your auto insurance that reflected your driving habits be they good or bad? Might you choose not to text if it would result in a 100% surcharge on your monthly insurance rates or cancellation of your policy? That kind of data puts consequences and incentives in real time and real dollars.

I’m betting on the technology. In the meantime, if you can’t overcome the fatal attraction of texting-while-driving, put your phone in the glove box, trunk or back seat. Everyone will benefit.

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