As great as humans are at multi-tasking, driving just isn’t one of those tasks that can be paired with any other. Driving an automobile is a concentration-intensive task because of the high level of risk involved and simply because it’s against the law.
Research done by the World Health Organization classifies ‘distracted driving’ into four types:
• Visual – looking away from the road for a non driving-related task
• Cognitive – when your focus on the road is taken away by the topic of conversation on your mobile device
• Physical – the driver’s act of physically holding or operating a device like mobile phones or even the vehicle’s infotainment system while driving
• Auditory – when the driver’s attention is diverted to a ringing phone or even when loud music is playing in the cabin and masks the sound of traffic around the vehicle
In the Philippines, the controversial Anti-Distracted Driving Act is set to be re-implemented on July 6, 2017
In the wake of preposterous communications surrounding the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Anti-Distracted Driving Act (ADDA) that mistakenly interpreted everything from windshield-mounted devices to rosaries as 'distractions'.
We scour the World Wide Web for smartphone features and apps that can prevent you from making that force-of-habit act of checking your smartphone while driving.
iPhone users, you’re in luck. Before the year ends, Apple will release their latest operating system for mobile devices, iOS 11, and it will come with a ‘Do Not Disturb While Driving’ mode.
When turned On, this feature will detect when the user is mobile and mute all incoming notifications to keep the iPhone’s screen dark.
An auto-reply function can be set for contacts in Favorites with a default message indicating that the user is currently driving and cannot respond until they arrive at their destination.
Vehicle passengers may either opt to keep the feature toggled Off if they don’t drive or simply press the ‘I’m Not Driving’ button to continue hearing message prompts.
Google’s Android doesn’t yet have a built-in system to prevent ‘distracted driving’ so you’ll just have to settle for third-party applications.
While you wait for the next iPhone update or you’re using an Android, here are some apps you can download – some free, some are not – so you’re ready for the day they re-implement the ADDA.
Lifesaver is an app that uses global positioning system (GPS) to lock a driver’s smartphone while the vehicle is in motion. It works on a system of challenges and rewards with the help of the driver’s immediate family. Once the smartphone is unlocked while the vehicle is in motion, an SMS is immediately sent to a family member. It is available on iOS and Android and is free for private users but comes with a fee for fleet and commercial use.
Focus is an app that operates on a game-style basis. The app starts as soon you drive and will reprimand you when you touch your phone. The voice begins in with a strict tone before progressing to a barking orders for you to put down the phone and concentrate on the road. It is free for iPhone and Android users but various other advanced features are unlocked if you purchase it for US$ 4.99.
An Android-specific app is MessageLOUD. It’s a subscription based app that costs US$ 15.99/year but it does come with very handy features. When you’re driving, it will automatically read out loud your text messages, emails. It comes with a very simply user interface in order for you to delete, dismiss, auto-reply, or call back just with a single tap or swipe of the screen. An iOS version is still in the works.
Drive Safe Mode
Designed for parents concerned about their kids driving while texting or accessing other smartphone functions is Drive Safe Mode. The app activates once the vehicle is in motion and will notify parents or designated guardians if the driver uses their smartphone while driving. It’s available on Android and iOS.
Drivesafe and Live2Txt
Drivesafe.ly and Live2Txt are Android-only apps, which works the same way as Apple’s upcoming ‘Do Not Disturb While Driving’ mode. Once the app is opened, it will silence all inbound notifications. A customized message is dispatched to each sender saying that you won’t be able to send a proper reply at the moment.
Finally, one of the most highly-rated apps that’s free for iOS and Android devices is Drivemode. It is made by AT&T so auto-reply functions and parental alerts do not work with any other carrier. Other than that though, it will read all your incoming correspondence out loud and will work with various other apps in your mobile device whether built-in or third-party.
If you browse the App Store (iOS) or the Android Marketplace, you’ll find a lot more apps with more diverse and restrictive features while some offer a ‘points system’ that can be used to exchange for basic goods and commodities.
The choices are aplenty but the basic principle remains the same – stop drivers from using their smartphones while driving to reduce the chances of getting into a vehicular accident.
As powerful as some of these apps are, all it can really do is curb the driver’s habit. It still boils down to driver discipline and desire to be a safer driver on the road because at the end of the day, there’s nothing on your smartphone that’s more important than what’s in front of your moving vehicle.