Distracted Driving: Technology Can Stop What It Started
As Pulitzer Prize Winning Author and New York Times Journalist, Matt Richtel explains in his latest book, A Deadly Wandering (http://mattrichtel.wordpress.com/), there is an addiction to technology that over powers all other common sense when driving. “When you’re on the phone all of the time, it conditions you to want to talk and text, get the ping of excitement, get what they call a ‘dopamine squirt’, an adrenaline rush, and when you’re behind the wheel and you hear that text, you hear that ping, you hear that incoming call, it becomes practically irresistible.”
In recent years, distracted driving has achieved epidemic proportions. It’s in the news everyday. We hear of horrific accidents and deaths. There are marketing campaigns from our phone companies, car manufacturers, and government articulating the risks and drilling into our heads a mantra we should remember when we get behind the wheel — “Put It Down”, “Phone In One Hand, Ticket In The Other,” “It Can Wait”, “Stop Texting Now!”
But are these programs working?
Looking at the numbers, it’s hard to believe that things are improving. In any given year, we can now expect over 3,000 people are killed and more than 400,000 people are injured in driver-distracted crashes.[i] Although texting is the primary culprit distracting drivers, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also estimates that over 50,000 accidents occur every year due to drowsiness. In the trucking industry, where drivers are professionals, drowsiness has been identified as the number one safety concern of commercial fleets.
With all of this in mind, EDGE3 has turned its’ focus on developing technology that will put an end to driver distraction. With a camera installed in the cabin of a consumer or commercial vehicle, the EDGE3 driver monitoring technology maps and tracks the human face while at the same time understanding and alerting a driver when distractions are detected. It’s our belief that with real-time monitoring and feedback, safety procedures can be implemented and alarms sounded when a driver dozes off or looks away from the road.
There are a number of distraction behaviors that we detect, including:
- Eating / drinking
- Using a navigation system
- Watching a video
Even though technology is considered, by in large, to be the leading cause of distracted driving, we also believe it has the potential to be the solution.