A new study has revealed that “distracted” adolescent-drivers are less likely to use phones or drive erratically when cameras and blocking programs are in place. Also Read - Increasing smartphone usage may be resulting in growing horns on our skull; research suggests
The study found that technology can bolster efforts by parents, lawmakers and insurance companies to reduce distracted driving among novice teen drivers and suggested that the use of voice/text devices while driving is associated with crash risks up to 24 times higher than when cell phones are not used to talk or text while driving. Lead author Beth Ebel from University of Washington School of Medicine said that the risks of electronic distraction for young drivers are very real, but facts and figures have not done enough to change driver behavior. Also Read - India pips US to become 2nd largest smartphone market in Q3: Canalys
Researchers, who wanted to find out if technology could reduce distracted driving, high-risk driving events (e.g., hard braking, swerving) and injuries among adolescent drivers, conducted a pilot study of two interventions. The first was an in-vehicle camera system triggered by hard braking, fast cornering or an impact that exceeds a certain g-force that captures events, which parents and teens can review to improve driving behavior. The second was a device that blocks incoming and outgoing calls/texts on cell phones when the vehicle is being operated. Both systems are commercially available. Also Read - Telephone connections cross 100 crore mark in India
Results showed teens in both intervention groups had lower cell phone use and fewer high-risk driving behaviors than the control group. The reduction in distracted driving was greatest for drivers with the blocking program installed on their smartphone. Ebel added that teens and parents in the intervention groups did not disable the technology during the study, indicating that cameras and cell phone blocking programs are feasible outside the research setting. The results suggest that technological programs that may help limit exposure to distraction for novice drivers are accepted by teens and lowered risky driving, she concluded.