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Eliminating driver distractions with technology

When a person gets behind the wheel of a vehicle in Alabama, putting the phone out of sight or turning it off may be the best method of avoiding distracted driving. According to statistics gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, thousands of drivers are not taking this precaution, with distraction-related traffic deaths representing 10 percent of the country’s motor vehicle crash fatalities in 2014. Technology experts are now responding to the hazards of electronic devices with applications and programs that help people avoid the temptation.

According to Quoted, an auto insurance publication, drivers do not have to let calls and texts go unanswered until they can find a place to stop the vehicle. Many apps silence alerts and send automated messages that can be customized to let others know the phone’s owner is behind the wheel. Others allow limited smartphone use with voice command or Bluetooth so that a driver can still take phone calls on a hands-free device or use a GPS program for directions. Some technology takes safety to a new level by interacting with the driving experience, offering rewards for good behaviors behind the wheel.

While safety may be incentive enough for adults to download a program, many young drivers may not find the idea as appealing. Some apps allow parents to override their teens’ phone use in the vehicle, and there are even options that provide information on driving behaviors. As newer statistics become available, researchers will have a better picture of whether these programs are contributing to better driving habits for teens and adults alike.

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