Blocking Smartphone Apps Doesn’t Solve the Distracted Driving Problem

I’ve come across a number of different applications that will limit the use of your smartphone while driving by blocking certain functionality based on the fact that you’re moving at a certain speed.

This is a fine and dandy band-aid approach to the problem of distracted driving, but trying to limit the user is not the solution that will work.  As long as people are not forced into restrictions they will choose to leave themselves to use their phone however they choose.

It is a rare person that will acknowledge that they cannot control themselves from using their phone while driving but will then also take action to limit their own freedom in favor of not texting while driving.  Most people that are willing to use apps like these in their personal lives are already perfectly safe drivers well aware of the dangers of distracted driving.

In corporate fleet situations the opportunity is there to force drivers to use these types of applications.  Many fleets already use a number telematics programs to route drivers, track safe driving, track fuel efficiency and much more so implementing an additional application may not be to difficult.  But outside of the corporate environment, where the administration of the application is separate from the end user, the person with the smartphone can always just turn the application off.

I’m convinced that this generation of applications designed to limit in vehicle functionality, as well as text ban laws (and the like) completely fail to address the fact that these technologies and services exist and add value to the people that use them.  The availability of products and services to be used while driving will only grow.  Long term, telematics applications will allow for full use of their functionality, but will be delivered in safer ways.  Will it be heads-up displays? Maybe… Steering wheel controls? Probably… Voice controls? Definitely… But these all have a long way to go and it would seem the only solution we have in the meanwhile is to just turn the services off.

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