Texting while driving—often by younger drivers in the U.S.–has become a growing threat to the driving public! Distracted driving causes motor vehicle accidents, injuries and loss of lives. In Virginia, as in approximately 30 other states, there is a ban on texting while driving for all drivers; and in some states there is a partial ban for novice drivers, but the laws are difficult to enforce. Even President Obama has taken up the challenge by issuing a federal order banning U.S. government employees from texting while operating government-owned vehicles.
If you don’t think this could be a problem, you need to know that according to CTIA-The Wireless Association, “About 1.56 trillion texts were sent in the USA in 2009.” And, if one needs more evidence, take a look at some of the cars around you at the next stop light. It seems like everyone is doing it, and just about anyone with a "smart" phone has probably taken a peak (at a minimum) at his or text or email while behind the wheel. We may even frown upon others doing it, while we ourselves do it.
Yet, there is good news on the horizon and another reason to cheer, as the public outcry for safety and safer driving is driving the technology marketplace to do something to stem the tide of phone-texting-related accidents. Two firms, Manage Mobility (Apharetta, GA) and WebSafety, Inc. (Irving, TX) have partnered “to provide software to government agencies and businesses that disables the texting, e-mailing and Web-browsing functions of a wireless phone in moving vehicles. Manage Mobility, an Alpharetta-based management and logistics firm, will provide technology developed by WebSafety Inc.
It is possible that this new development may even provoke some First Amendment questions, among other objections. But, if this software works and keeps moms, kids, babies and the rest of us safer, it cannot be that bad of a development. When can I get it as an app on MY phone and my kids’ phones? Let us hope that the result of these firms’ efforts accomplish what the enthusiasm for communicating via text messaging (or email), and the lack of experience and common sense in our population, have chipped away.