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Four Types of Apps You Can Use to Prevent Distracted Driving in Colorado

by  on  Car Accidents & Motor Vehicle Collisions

Distracted driving is a problem in Colorado. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, about 400,000 people are injured in distracted driving accidents each year. And despite knowing the dangers, 90% of Colorado drivers report having driven while distracted.

A driver’s decision to allow distractions to their attention from the road is a choice and one that can be avoided with the right determination and tools. Because of the accidents caused by drivers paying attention to notifications on phones, discussions, and other distractions, companies have developed numerous apps to help prevent distracted driving. Here are four of the most helpful types of apps and how you can use them to prevent dangerous distractions behind the wheel.

Apps That Deal With the Temptation to Text

Conversations with passengers inside a vehicle and phone conversations can both be dangerous distractions for a driver. However, text conversations have proven to be a bigger problem because they not only take drivers’ attention away from driving but they also take drivers’ gazes away from the road and their hands away from the wheel.

Using an app that handles texts for you while driving can reduce the temptation to view or respond to text messages received on the road.

DriveSafe.ly advertises itself as “the solution to texting while driving.” This app reads both emails and text messages aloud for you in real-time without the need to touch the phone. Then the app responds automatically with a response you choose.

Many phone manufacturers also provide the ability to set up auto-response capability. For iPhone users, for instance, the feature is built into the operating system so auto-reply can be engaged through settings. Apple also offers a Driving Focus feature where you can have Siri read messages aloud. Those who use Android phones can also usually turn on auto-reply by going through Advanced Features in settings.

Apps to Silence Alerts

If you don’t want your phone to distract you in any way while you’re driving, you can use an app that stops the phone from making sounds or vibrations that could potentially distract you. Apple’s Driving Focus can be set to automatically detect when you’re driving and silences notifications. DriveMode can silence alerts automatically when a vehicle reaches 15 m.p.h. The LifeSaver app also automatically detects driving and blocks cell phone use and is marketed for commercial applications for fleet drivers.

For a low-tech solution, users can just get in the habit of manually setting the phone to do not disturb mode before they turn on the ignition.

Apps Designed to Protect Teen Drivers

Younger, less-experienced drivers are often the most at risk from driving distractions, particularly their cell phones. Companies have responded by developing apps for teens, although the apps may have more appeal for their parents. In fact, some services, like MamaBear Family Safety that monitored text messages were classified as prohibited Family Locator App by Google so the company had to discontinue the feature. MamaBear still offers a feature parents can use to track the speed of younger drivers, but the ability to tell when a teen is texting while driving has been disabled. Toyota briefly offered an app called Safe and Sound that would hijack a teen’s music playlist and turn on the parent’s music if a teen engaged in cell phone use while driving. For various reasons, many watchdog apps are no longer available.

However, it is still possible for parents to track phone usage and other potentially dangerous driving habits while driving using the Life360 app.

Analysis and Reward Apps

A different type of app uses a reward approach to discourage distracted driving. The OnMyWay app pays users a reward in “cash” for each mile they drive without texting or using certain apps. Users are still able to place and answer phone calls while using the app, but only if their phone is connected to Bluetooth in the vehicle. Other apps including maps and music providers will also continue to work if they were activated before driving or while the car is stopped. OnMyWay generally pays rewards in the form of gift cards or similar format rather than actual cash.

The Life360 app allows drivers to see their usage patterns, along with other dangerous habits such as speeding and hard braking. Patterns are compared with other family members and can lead to a sense of competition.

Awareness of Distractions

Most distracted driving apps focus on cell phone usage, and that is what most people in Colorado think of when they consider the dangers of distracted driving. But it is important to be aware that a wide variety of distractions can pose dangers for drivers and those with whom they share the road.

A distraction is anything that takes a driver’s attention from the task of driving, takes their eyes from the road, or takes their hands from the wheel. Texting while driving does all three, but so does eating. Passengers also provide a significant source of distraction for drivers. It is important for drivers to recognize potential hazards and commit to reducing distractions whenever possible. If you must eat while driving, for instance, choose food that is not messy and that is portioned in bite-sized pieces. Don’t overload the vehicle with too many people, and make sure your passengers know that you need to keep your focus on the road rather than on them.

When Distractions Cause an Accident, Talk to an Experienced Attorney

Distracted driving accidents often stem from negligent behavior that could have been prevented. If a driver’s negligence causes injuries, those suffering are entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering they endure, as well as amounts to make up for medical bills and lost wages and funds to provide for future needs. To find out how an experienced attorney at Levine Law could help if you’ve been harmed in an accident, contact us today for a free consultation and case evaluation.