It’s obvious to anyone on the road that smartphones and vehicle “infotainment” systems are profoundly distracting. Also that our reliance upon those devices is increasing. It’s nearly impossible to drive anywhere without seeing someone use their phone while driving. Worryingly, that behaviour increases the risk of a collision by 23 times (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, 2010). Naturally, parents are concerned letting their teens loose on the road. Teaching your own child to restrain from texting and driving is one thing. Blindly counting on the restraint of the rest of drivers is quite another.
HALO Takes Care of the Restraint…
Morwan Hannon is the owner of a small trucking company. He was looking to prevent distracted driving among his employees, so he contacted engineer Peter Qu. Several dozen patents later, the pair had developed a new weapon in the fight against texting. Using Yoda’s syntax, Hannon picked the perfect acronym: Hands-Free Assistant, Location Optimized (HALO). HALO works by pinging sound waves through the driver- and passenger-side speakers to your smartphone. If your phone receives the driver side ping first (even by as little as a millisecond), HALO can tell it’s being used in the driver’s seat. Then, it disables the phone.
What About Now?
As promising as it sounds, Hannon still needs to convince automakers to install HALO in their vehicles. After that, he’ll need to convince cellphone manufacturers to include his proposed app, HALO Go, by default. That’s because anyone who wants to text and drive isn’t going to download an app that would prevent it. In the coming years, HALO, and many other innovations, will help defeat distracted driving. However, parents want to make driving safer for their children now.
Current technology does offer some strategies to promote safer driving in general. Ford MyKey® can limit maximum speeds and mute the sound system while seat belts are off and specific key fobs are in use. Chevrolet’s Teen Driver technology offers similar functionality. Specific to distracted driving, Drive ID by Cellcontrol is a piece of hardware affixed to the outside of a vehicle. It can distinguish the driver from passengers and disable their phone. But it, like HALO, requires a voluntary app. Until this sort of system is integrated into both vehicles and cellphones, a traditional approach is best.
Simple Tips to Prevent Distracted Driving
- Review directions and maps before driving
- Keep the vehicle tidy
- Place your phone somewhere beyond your reach
- Put your phone on silent mode
If you do get in an accident, and need vehicle repairs, come to Regina’s most trusted auto body shop. Call us locally at 306-525-6000 or toll free at 1-888-484-9UCC (9822).