We now have the technology to stop texting while driving. Car accidents are one of the leading causes of injuries and injury-related death in the United States. In Texas, the statistics are no less sobering – car accidents in Texas in 2013 caused 3,377 fatalities, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. One of the leading causes of traffic accidents and fatalities in Texas is distracted driving, including texting while driving.
The Texas Department of Transportation’s deputy executive officer stated in an April 2014 release that distracted driving caused one in five traffic accidents, and killed 459 people in 2013. Happily, new technology may disable texting while driving altogether, making Dallas roads safer.
New Anti-Texting and Driving Tech Uses Telematics
Telematics is a new technology innovation that combines telecommunications and mobility. In regards to automobiles, telematics is the process of connecting a car to the Internet via the car’s OBD 2 port, which is standard in cars manufactured since 1996.
While connecting a car to the Internet might seem strange, the practical uses are endless – insurance companies have talked about the technology as a way to discover how fast a driver is traveling, for example, and mechanics and auto shops may now be able to assess what’s wrong with a malfunctioning vehicle by running diagnostics virtually from miles away. But there’s another reason that telematics is proving beneficial – it allows disabling texting while driving.
How Telematics Can Disable Texting While Driving
Telematics can monitor just about anything that’s happening with the mechanics of a car, including how fast it’s going, how heavily its brakes are being used, and more. But Scott Tibbitts has found another use for telematics that could save lives, as outlined in a September 2014 article appearing in the New York Times – sending a message to a cell phone to disable texting while driving.
Tibbitts’ company, called Katasi, blocks both incoming and outgoing texts and calls. The technology also has the ability to disable incoming and outgoing emails too. It requires a small black box that plugs into the vehicle. There are no cell phone apps required.
The Katasi system allows drivers to opt out of the disabling features, though, rendering the system futile for a driver who is determined to text while driving. However, the driver must take action to turn the system off, otherwise texts will automatically be blocked, which could prove key to increasing safety.
The Future of Texting and Driving
While the technology to disable texting while driving is here, issues surrounding it have arisen. First, is a cell phone carrier legally allowed to check every link in its network and disable the transfer of information when necessary? Second, what will consumer demand for the technology be? Will people choose to purchase technology that prevents them from texting while driving?
For now, the technology hasn’t reached the average consumer. Although, Mr. Tibbitts is determined to meet with cell phone carriers, hoping to increase awareness about the dangers of texting and driving and get more cell phone carriers excited about Katasi. Additionally, certain companies, like Chipotle, have expressed excitement about the idea of offering promotions for their products as an incentive to get teens to purchase the Katasi technology. On this issue, it seems like only time will tell what will become of a real solution to the texting while driving epidemic.
Get Legal Help if Injured by a Distracted Driver
If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, the attorneys at Reyes, Browne, & Reilley can help. Our experienced DFW car accident attorneys will work hard to make sure that you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries, and will act as your advocate throughout the entire process of filing your claim and defending it. If you’ve been injured, call us today at 214-526-7900 to speak to one of our attorneys.