Apps Meant to Curb Distracted Driving Face Numerous Obstacles

Posted on June 11, 2012

With distracted driving becoming more and more prevalent, especially as concerns texting while behind the wheel of an automobile, phone manufacturers and software makers have done what they can to come up with apps that can curb the dangerous practice.  But as a new report illustrates, such technology has its limitations.

One of those first limitations is you, the driver.  For one thing, a person has to seek out the app before it can be installed.  But let’s say that you get the app, then what?  For one thing, most such apps have an override button that can be used to flick the installed program on or off.

And that’s not the only problem.  Most apps currently on the market work by determining whether the phone is traveling at more than ten miles per hour.  If it is, then the app kicks on and disallows the user from sending a text or prevents the phone itself from ringing.  However, in addition to the driver simply overriding this function, there’s one other problem.  Most apps can’t tell a passenger from a driver, or whether the driver boarded another conveyance like a bus or a train.

Apps that are more advanced and link the phone to the driver’s specific automobile can differentiate between passenger and driver, but they’re cost prohibitive for many.  And one more problem that affects widespread implementation:  none of the apps work with the iPhone, which doesn’t allow programs to run in the background.

All of this and more is proving a challenge to software developers.

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