The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that nine Americans are killed every day due to distracted driving, a category that includes texting behind the wheel. Thus, 46 states have passed laws that ban texting while driving. Now, new technologies aim to change drivers’ actions and save lives.
The dangers of texting while driving were on display in August when a 32-year-old woman named Jorene Nicolas was convicted of vehicular manslaughter and sentenced to six years in prison for killing another driver in a 2011 crash in Orange County. In the 15 minutes prior to the collision, Nicholas sent 13 text messages while driving on a freeway.
Minji Kim, a young driver at Crescenta Valley High School (CVHS), told JSR, “I think that it is dangerous to text while driving because [it makes drivers] unaware of what is happening on the road. I don’t think any notification or text message is so important that you need to check it right at the moment.”
Kim continued, “I don’t want to exchange my life for a text message. I really hope that people stop texting and driving so no one gets hurt.”
To prevent catastrophic accidents, many experts have presented their own opinions on how to reduce the number of car crashes in the United States. Several companies have developed anti-texting smartphone applications that use speed and GPS to know when people are driving and disable their phones’ texting and Internet capabilities during that time.
Another invention is the anti-texting billboard. The idea is that roadside cameras can capture images of people illegally using their phones while driving and then transfer those pictures to digital billboards, publicly shaming the drivers.
Brion Singer, the artist who came up with the billboards and installed one in San Francisco, told NBC Bay Area News, “By posting those embarrassing pictures on a billboard, drivers will learn the lessons by themselves, without receiving any types of harsh punishments.”
According to Kyung Shin, “Those inventions are brilliant. They will prevent those careless actions of young or amateur drivers from driving aggressively and eventually reduce the total amount of accidents in local areas.”
Shin is a driver in Glendale, California, a town that in 2011 was called the “third most dangerous American city for driving” by the National Safety Commission.
As more people pay attention to the problem of texting while driving, these new inventions will help drivers modify their behaviors and make the streets of Glendale and other cities safer.