When the car phone was first used in 1946, the inventors probably didn't foresee all the trouble that using a phone while you drive would cause. Drivers talking on cellphones would take one hand off the wheel and take their focus off the road. Then texting while driving became the cause of one in four accidents in the U.S.
As a result, laws were passed to prohibit talking on the phone while driving, apps were developed to stop you from texting while driving, and ad campaigns like AT&T's "It Can Wait" encouraged safer driving habits. But as a society, we haven't learned our lesson and our phones are still causing more and more accidents.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in the first six months of 2016, highway deaths have increased over 10 percent compared to a similar time frame from 2015. This is the highest increase in over 50 years, which is especially alarming when you consider that cars are built to be much safer than they were in the 1960s. Safety experts say that phone apps and in-car Wi-Fi, which cause new forms of distracted driving, are contributing to this increase.
One phone app in particular has been linked to two major crashes that made national headlines. A few weeks ago in Florida, a horrible accident claimed the lives of five people. Moments before the crash, a Snapchat speed filter showed the vehicle that caused the crash was going over 100 mph. Last year a young woman in Georgia was using the same app before hitting another driver; the other driver suffered permanent brain damage and is now wheelchair-bound. Her Snapchat filter also showed she was driving over 100 mph.
A futuristic solution could be driverless cars. Presumably, people could use their phones, tablets and even laptops in the car without fear of endangering themselves and other drivers. However, it seems this technology has a long way to go before we begin to rely on it. One driver (or passenger technically) died when his car was on autopilot. The manufacturer said people still need to keep their hands on the wheel and their attention on the road.
What do you think will solve this crisis and get more people to stop paying attention to their phones while they drive? Will it just continue to get worse? Tell me in the comments section below.