Industry needs to adopt a positive attitude to text driving

Rating: Help teach drivers to SMS hands-free

How is it smart to overlook the intelligence in mobile devices?

Whilst listening to Radio Jackie, GoMo News was struck by the hugely negative attitude towards using mobile phones – and especially text/SMS whilst driving vehicles. An advert placed by Drive SMART – which is a partnership between Surrey Police and Surrey County Council, even suggested drivers might kill a child whilst texting on the move. This stance totally overlooks the fact that there is plenty of technology available out there to enable drivers to use the facilities of a mobile phone hands-free and therefore safely.

It is particularly galling to be told by Police Forces not to communicate whilst driving given that – along with mini-cab drivers, the police are probably the biggest users of voice on the move.

This is the kind of advice being given to drivers …

“It may be tempting to answer a call or check your Facebook while driving, but it is a huge distraction and the consequences can be devastating,” according to Kay Hammond, Surrey County Council’s cabinet member for Community Safety.

She adds, “You are four times more likely to crash if you use a mobile phone while driving. Your reaction times are 50 per cent slower and you are more likely to drift across lanes.”

Drive Smart also claims that texting, updating social media sites or reading emails takes the attention away from driving safely and even a momentary lapse in concentration can mean life or death for the driver or other road users.

GoMo News wonders whether there’s any research to prove that now large numbers of drivers have sat-nav devices (including smartphones), accidents caused by drivers trying to find their destination might have actually gone down?

We suggest that such bodies would be better off getting handset vendors; software vendors; hands-free equipment suppliers and car manufacturers together.

It is perfectly possible to configure a handset to read out text and email messages as the handset owner drives along and even feasible to allow them to respond to such messages using voice commands.

One particular excuse by a smartphone user given to the police (see here) worried GoMo News.

It was … ” I’m not on the phone, I am looking something up on the internet”.

Now it should be easy to search using voice whilst driving along. Even if you have to touch an icon once to activate this feature, surely that is no more distracting than pusing buttons on an in-car setero system?

If you want toi read a list of excuses for using a handset whilst driving a vehicle that just won’t wash, then read here.

About Tony Dennis

Tony is currently Editor of GoMobile News. He's a veteran telecoms journalist who has previously worked for major printed and online titles. Follow him on Twitter @GoMoTweet.
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