Thousands of lives have been lost due to distracted-driving related accidents in the U.S. with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) citing 3,477 deaths over the course of a single year in 2015.
The NHTSA said, “Texting is the most alarming distraction. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that's like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.”
So why do people still reach for their phones when they’re behind the wheel? Some drivers believe they can multitask, even if their perception is far from reality. Some are worried about missing an important call or message. For some, it’s a sign of a deeper addiction to their mobile phones.
There are plenty of ways to go hands-free and still use your phone while driving, but studies show that even hands-free phone use can still be distracting. There is help for people who have difficulty fighting the temptation. Here are ways to make sure you won’t pick up while you’re behind the wheel:
Samsung In-Traffic Reply
Samsung has a new Android mobile app called In-Traffic Reply. The app uses a phone’s GPS feature to sense when the device is on the move, whether on a bike or in an automobile. It then automatically responds to calls and texts with pre-set messages like “I’m driving, so I cannot answer at the moment.”
In-Traffic Reply is automatically activated starting from a speed of a little over 6 mph. You will receive a notification when the app is activated so you can switch it off again immediately if you're not the person driving.
The app also sends an automatic response to notifications that come from your social apps. Don't worry, your contacts will only receive one In-Traffic Reply per journey. If someone sends you multiple messages in a row, the app responds just once.
Click here to download the free app for Android from the Google Play Store.
Samsung’s In-Traffic Reply app isn’t the only one aimed at shutting down phone distractions. AT&T’s DriveMode app is available for both Android and iOS.
It turns off text message alerts and sends an auto-reply. It can also be set to notify a parent if a teen turns the app off.