Apps like Snapchat, Waze, and Pokemon Go are creating a distracted driving crisis among young drivers.
While distracted driving is nothing new, these apps encourage teens to do more than just text or make calls from their phones as they are driving. There are incentives to use them while driving; Snapchat will record the speed of the vehicle on photos, and Waze rewards drivers for reporting traffic jams and accidents.
As a result, highway fatalities have greatly increased, recording the largest annual percentage increase in 50 years. The numbers this year are even worse; in the first half of 2016, highway deaths jumped 10.4%.
So what is being done to prevent this? Near term efforts will involve identifying changes in regulations, laws and standards that could help reduce fatalities. Laws that concern distracted driving need to be tightened and enforced by all states.
Technology that is meant to reduce driver distractions, such as Sync in Ford cars and Apple’s CarPlay is already being used by drivers, however, freeing the driver’s hands doesn’t necessarily mean their head is clear and focused on the road. Even the most elaborate technology setup in a car isn’t risk free.
Drivers, especially teen drivers, would be better served by leaving their phones in their pockets or in the backseat. Wait until you get to your destination to send snaps, texts, and Facebook messages.