Can locking phones prevent distracted driving?

Any activity that takes a driver’s focus away from the primary task of driving is dangerous, but statistics show that, by far, using a phone is the most distracting.

In 2016 an estimated 3,500 people died from the road accidents caused by distracted driving. This rising number of deaths inspired National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to propose innovative measures to eliminate this danger on the road.

In December, the NHTSA called for Apple and others in the smartphone industry to create a function on their devices reminiscent of airplane mode which automatically blocks phone functions during a flight.

This ‘driving mode’ that they suggested would block some phone apps and video displays, and prevent manual text entry when the car goes from park to drive.

The aim of the proposal is to make it impossible for drivers to manually:

  • Text while driving
  • Adjust music on the phone while driving
  • Program yGPS, maps or any other navigational systems while driving
  • Dial a number while driving
  • Send emails while driving

Creating limitations on smartphones to discourage distracted driving is not a new concept. Phone apps have been developed for you to voluntarily download onto your phones. What is different in this proposal? It would force the smartphone device makers to become part of the solution to the problem of distracted driving. Will they accept the invitation? We have yet to see.

If you have been in an accident involving a distracted driver, you know how important it is to prevent this danger on the road. If you have injuries resulting from the accident, you also know the cost. You may have unanticipated medical bills or lost wages. Every situation is different. If you have questions about your particular situation, you may want to contact an attorney.