New app may be a wake up call for addicted texters

Many texters do not realize that driving while distracted is deadly. Just because texting while driving may not cause an accident right away does not mean there is no risk of accident, serious injury or death. The habit is deadly and kills thousands every year.

In response to the rising number of deaths due to distracted driving every year, app developers have been working to devise a way to stop drivers from texting while driving.

It is addictive to chat with friends, family, lovers, roommates and relatives on the go, but it is not worth it to respond or send messages that can wait until later when the risk of death or injury is high. Texting while driving, even if it only takes five seconds to type “OK,” has the potential to kill the distracted driver and others. Virginia Tech Institute’s research shows that in five seconds a vehicle can cover the length of a football field, 120 yards (110 m), while not paying attention to the road.

What is the latest app to stop people from driving while distracted? It is called Canary, and it tracks every time a cell phone is unlocked, the speed the vehicle is traveling and its location. Reports on the use of the phone are sent to parents or whoever is concerned when the phone is used. During field tests involving teens and their parents, Canary proved to be an eye-opening app for several reasons. It shocked parents to see how often their children were using a cell phone while driving, and it made teens aware that they used it far more than they thought.

The next step after awareness of the habit is to do something about it, which is the most difficult part of the equation. Cell phones are addictive and people do not want to give them up despite the fact that they may cause death or serious injury to themselves or others.

After the field trials, some teens who participated said they were planning to drastically reduce or stop using their phones while driving. However, there are still many hurdles to cross before people stop texting and driving. The app alone does not solve the problem, but it is a place to start.

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