Distracted driving continues to be a major problem on our roads. Despite Georgia’s year-old distracted driving law, you’re still likely to see people at stoplights glancing down toward their screens, taking calls or even texting out in the open.
At Litner + Deganian, we’re personally interested in supporting ways to eliminate this deadly problem, which is why we’ve sponsored a scholarship program now in its second year to do just that. But we also understand that it’s hard for people to choose the most surefire means of distraction-free driving: turning off your phone and keeping it out of sight while you’re on the road.
Whether you’re trying to kick the habit yourself, supporting an always-connected family member or keeping an eye on a new teen driver, here are some helpful safety features, settings and apps to keep distractions to a minimum.
Advanced safety systems
Advanced systems like Forward-Collision Warning (FCW), Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) and Lane-Departure Warning (LDW) can help drivers avoid a crash with audio or visual alerts or, in some cases, automated actions. Such features used to only be available in high-end cars. Increasingly, however, these technologies are popping up in more accessible vehicles. If you’re in the market for a new car, truck or SUV, Consumer Reports maintains a detailed list of active safety features available in all makes and models. A 2019 Honda Accord, for example, comes with standard FCW, AEB and LDW, while a 2019 Honda Civic only includes those features as optional items.
Do Not Disturb mode
Apple’s latest operating system (iOS12, along with its predecessor, iOS11) has a Do Not Disturb While Driving mode (DND) that can sense when you may be driving. DND will block texts and calls while still letting you use your navigation system, play music or listen to podcasts. People sending incoming texts will get a message letting them know you’re on the road. If you’re connected to your car’s in-dash system through Bluetooth, calls can still come through since you’ll be able to take them hands-free.
Safe driving apps
Apps like Drivesafe.ly or Drivemode can be especially helpful for parents hoping to keep their teen drivers safe in older cars without in-dash entertainment and navigation systems. These apps (and plenty of others) will read texts or emails aloud, allowing drivers to keep their eyes on the road and obey Georgia’s distracted driving law. Apps like Drive Safe Mode will track teen drivers’ phone use while they’re in the car, sending parents an alert if the child is texting or using social media.
As you shop for a new car or scope out apps or other add-ons that can make your existing vehicle safer, don’t forget car manufactures’ motives. While they of course want to make safer automobiles, they also want to sell cars, and increasingly complex and connected in-dash systems are what many consumers want. It’s always helpful to remember that just because your in-dash system allows you to compose texts, dial into conference calls or answer an email—all hands-free—it doesn’t mean you have to. It’s still OK to switch to airplane mode, stash your phone in your console and drive uninterrupted.
If you’ve been the victim of a distracted driver, you need a car crash attorney who understands the complexities of these cases. Contact the accident attorneys at Litner + Deganian for a free consultation at our office, conveniently located in Druid Hills near Emory and Decatur.