Innovation, Rather than Legislation, to Stop Texting While Driving?

Most states now have laws against texting while driving, but the penalties vary from mere $20 fine in some states to a $10,000 fine and one year in prison for a first offense, without accident or injury, in Alaska. The median penalty, is a $100 fine. Enforcement is difficult, even in states where texting is a primary offense, and in some states it is a secondary offense, meaning that you cannot be pulled over for texting while driving, but can receive a citation for the offense if you are pulled over for something else such as speeding or running a red light. The real solution to texting while driving may be technology which removes the temptation to answer incoming texts.

Car Mode

“Car mode”, or “driving mode” is not a new concept, but it is not yet available in all new phones. Windows Phone 8 has a Driving Mode feature. Designers Joey Cofone and Michael Vanderbyl have come up with a similar concept they call Car Mode, intended for use in iPhones. Both features require a Bluetooth enabled vehicle to work.

The idea is that your phone detects when you are driving, and while you are driving it does not alert you to incoming texts in any way. You can choose to have an automatic reply sent to the texter, letting them know that you are currently behind the wheel.

The Real Cost of Texting While Driving

Texting has surpassed drinking as the leading cause of death for teenage drivers, and more adults admit to texting while driving than teens. Criminal penalties for texting while driving are nowhere near as harsh as drunk driving penalties, but the real costs of texting and driving are serious injury and death.

If you have been injured in an accident caused by a texting driver, or lost a loved one in one of these completely preventable crashes, the driver may not be held criminally responsible, but you can still hold them financially responsible for the harm they have caused through their selfish and irresponsible behavior. Texting while driving can be more difficult to prove than drunk driving, but with the help of a skilled and experienced accident attorney, it can be done.