Using a smartphone is a distraction during driving, and while mobile software developers are trying to create apps to address this problem, distracted driving is still a huge concern across the United States.
According to a survey by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, around 43 percent of high school juniors and 58 percent of seniors admitted that they emailed or texted while driving last month.
Ray LaHood, Transportation Secretary, said that distracted driving is “a national epidemic.” Texting while driving is banned in 39 states, and in 5 states, it is illegal to text while driving for novice teenage drivers.
So far, the mobile app industry has not come up with the perfect solution. Some apps, for example, silence a phone when it senses that the car is moving, but these apps have several limitations. For one, these apps can’t distinguish passengers from drivers. To compensate, these apps have override buttons that are easily accessible to drivers.
A startup firm offers another solution to discourage distracted driving. The basic idea is that it uses economic incentive by paying drivers when they don’t use their phones during an entire road trip. The app, called SafeCellApp, only has a one-star-out-of-five rating in Apple’s App Store. It started with one dollar per 100 miles 2 years ago, but when it became popular, the rate changed last year to 1 dollar per 1000 miles, and the maximum payout per person became 250 dollars.
The National Transportation Safety Board has not recommended any apps so far. Their message is simple: even if you’re device is hands-free, you should just never text while driving.