Preventing distracted driving accidents is an important goal, but in order to prevent injuries and save lives it is important to take a close look at the effectiveness of efforts to prevent distracted driving tragedies. In this article we will look at two common distracted driving prevention tactics and let you know the truth about each of them.
Public Awareness Campaigns May Help Prevent Some Distracted Driving Accidents
Awareness campaigns are all around us, but are they effective?
The answer is sometimes. Just like with other types of ads—such as those that try to get you to buy candy or sneakers—some distracted driving awareness campaigns are more effective than others. We define effective as changing drivers’ habits and preventing accidents. In order for a distracted driving campaign to do that, it must:
- Be memorable. The message must stick with the person who saw or heard the ad.
- Reach the intended audience. The goal is not to speak directly to those who already drive safely, but to have those who drive while distracted listen to the risks.
- Motivate drivers to make a change. It’s not enough for drivers to listen to and remember the message; it must also encourage them to make practical changes that result in fewer distracted driving incidents.
Distracted driving awareness campaigns can also be combined with state and local legislation to be more effective. Together, the combination of public awareness campaigns and legislation can lead drivers to change their habits, to pay attention to the road, and to prevent serious and deadly car accidents.
Using Voice-to-Text Apps May Not Prevent Distracted Driving Accidents
Some drivers try to avoid the dangers of texting and driving by using a voice-to-text app on their phones. Unfortunately, speaking your text messages into a hands-free device is not any safer than using your fingers to type if drivers look at their phones to confirm that their voice-to-text was entered correctly. According to a recent study by Texas A&M Transportation Institute, driver response times are significantly delayed by texting—no matter which method a driver used to create the message.
Many driving voice-to-text applications are available on cellphones, and those that are offered through integration with a car’s sound system are heralded by car manufacturers to promote road safety. But researchers found that, in an actual driving environment, speech-texting drivers took nearly twice as long to react to stopped traffic and roadway obstacles than drivers who had no distractions.
The most worrying information in the study appears to be that drivers will embrace new technologies if they are marketed as a safe alternative to texting, even though the applications may not be any safer than using a handheld device. Each new device has the potential to add distraction rather than eliminate it. Drivers who are lulled into a false sense of security are likely to be unprepared when new technology causes an accident.
Preventing distracted driving accidents is the responsibility of every driver—regardless of public awareness campaigns and new technology that may be available. If you have been hurt or a loved one has been killed in a distracted-driving crash, then we encourage you to learn more about your rights and to call us at 888-450-4456 for more information.