Technology to Make Technology Safer

The more gadgets we have the more gadgets we need, or at least that’s the way it often seems. But put this in the context of the distracted driving problem and you may have a solution that reduces crash fatalities and auto insurance premiums. An article in Saturday’s New York Times by Sam Grobart explains how technology companies are trying to solve a problem caused by our addiction to  technology with more technology. It points to the rising interest in services that automatically disable an individual’s cellphone when it is in a moving car. Apparently a number of companies have started offering call-blocking systems that place restrictions on phones based on its GPS signal, data from the car itself or from cell towers. Incoming calls would then be routed to voice mail or message. The concept goes a step further than hands-free systems. A key takeaway from the article is that while proponents of hands-free systems believe their products make driving safer, there is a growing body of evidence that hands-free is not the answer. Indeed, a number of studies have suggested that driver response times still may be significantly slower with hands-free devices and that the risk of crashing doesn’t vary with type of phone. Nationwide is among insurers offering a discount to policyholders who sign up to use a call-blocking service from Aegis Mobility. Time will tell whether the use of call-blocking devices takes off. Certainly for employers concerned that they may be liable for accidents caused by employees taking work-related cellphone calls while driving, the use of call-blocking systems may be an item worth adding to the technology budget. Check out I.I.I. information on cell phones and driving.

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