The statistics are ugly for distracted driving, and they appear to only be getting worse. Each day in the U.S. over 8 people die and 1,161 people are injured in distraction-related car accidents. Distracted driving becomes more common every year. As deaths and injuries climb, some believe that we may already have the answer right under our noses. A new product has been created which can temporarily block distracting features in drivers' phones.
This new product called Groove can be plugged into a port on a vehicle's steering wheel, blocking incoming texts and other distractions if the vehicle is moving faster than 5 mph. It allows GPS and music apps to continue working so Millennials can still use their basic driving necessities. Even more astounding, the device can detect whether you are a driver or a passenger, allowing for passengers to continue using their phones.
If the technology exists then they are we not using it?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently suggested to smartphone makers that they should block distracting phone features in their devices for users operating vehicles. With the jump in distracted driving crashes the NHTSA stated that blocking videos, texting, and social media apps could save lives. Smartphone makers pushed back hard. Apple and Samsung both said that blocking phone features would halt technology innovation and prevent drivers from making better decisions on their own.
Groove's technology would not need smartphone maker approval, but does need the assistance of service providers and vehicle makers. Groove engineers have tried to persuade cellphone service providers and vehicle makers to use the technology for over ten years now. Vehicle makers have already taken strides toward reducing distracted driving by using hands-free technology in new vehicle models. Most vehicle makers might be on board but service providers are more hesitant in fear of a customer backlash.
Service providers are interested in a solution for distracted driving
Sprint and T-Mobile have shown interest in the new technology. The service providers have been testing Groove and could make it available as early as 2017. The product has already gotten the attention of news sources such as The New York Times and Yahoo! News Global. Momentary inconvenience while driving seems like a small price to pay in exchange for the financial and emotional loss that comes with distracted driving. While companies might be hesitant to buy into the technology, victims of distracted driving accidents and their families do not see a reason to wait.