News / USA

Innovative Technology Monitors Teen Drivers

Devices designed to alert parents and reduce unsafe practices behind the wheel

Ford Motor Company's MyKey feature allows parents to limit their teen's driving speed. It also alerts drivers when they're speeding or when their seatbelt isn't buckled.
Ford Motor Company's MyKey feature allows parents to limit their teen's driving speed. It also alerts drivers when they're speeding or when their seatbelt isn't buckled.

Multimedia

Distracted driving caused by using a cell phone is the leading cause of death among teenage drivers in the United States, claiming an average of 4,000 lives a year. In 2008, nearly 6,000 people died in the United States - and more than half a million people were injured - in crashes involving a distracted driver.  

While 30 states have banned texting while driving, studies show a ban is not stopping text-obsessed drivers.

But now, new technology is aimed at counteracting this, and other, disturbing driving trends.

Phone application designed to save lives

Software developer Wayne Irving was alarmed by the number of deaths and injuries being caused by drivers who were talking or texting behind the wheel. Especially since his own text-obsessed daughter was learning to become a new driver.

Irving's concern prompted him to develop a mobile-phone application to help drivers resist the temptation of talking or texting behind the wheel.  

His software, "SMS Replier,"  lets drivers program their Smartphones  -- so when a call or text message comes in while they're driving, the phone sends an automatic message letting the sender know they are driving and cannot answer.

"It was specifically built for people who desire to be responsible, who are looking for a solution to help them not get a ticket, not get in an accident, not risk their life," he says.

10,000 signatures and still counting

Irving designed his application for Smartphones because he believes more and more people - especially young people - use cell phones as their primary means of communication.

Example of an auto-reply message using Iconosys Inc.'s SMS Replier™ Smartphone app.
Example of an auto-reply message using Iconosys Inc.'s SMS Replier™ Smartphone app.

"Everything is going to the smart phones," he says. "The smart phone is the new laptop.  It's the new notebook computer. They're making them bigger, they're making them more feature-rich, they're stronger; they're more powerful than desktops were just three years ago."

To raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving, Irving hit the road himself. Setting out from his home in California in his 12-meter-long motor home, he traveled across the U.S. gathering more than 10,000 signatures in support of his cause.

He arrived in Washington in time for the U.S. Transportation Department's recent National Distracted Driving Summit, where other new safe driving devices were unveiled.

Built-in safety features

Irving's SMS Replier is one of a number of new applications designed to reduce highway fatalities.

Among the others is one the Ford Motor Company is putting into several of their car models to help young drivers develop better driving habits.

Using a special, computer-coded car key called MyKey, parents can limit the car's speed to no more than 130 kilometers per hour. Warning chimes can also be set to sound at 72, 89 and 105 kilometers per hour.

The key can also be programmed to limit the volume of the car radio and to release continuous alerts if the driver fails to wear a seat belt.

Brian Bennie, supervisor of MyKey development at Ford, says it was designed to give parents peace of mind.

"We know that teenagers drive distracted and they may not wear their seat belt all the time. This encourages good, safe driving behavior," he says.

The Tiwi in-vehicle monitoring device mentors teens with verbal alerts to help them develop better driving habits.
The Tiwi in-vehicle monitoring device mentors teens with verbal alerts to help them develop better driving habits.

In-vehicle monitoring devices

However, parents don't have to buy a car with special built-in features to control their teens' driving habits. They can install a small device like the Tiwi in-car computer, which can be mounted on the car's windshield, to continuously monitor their kids' driving.  

Tiwi uses GPS [Global Positioning System] technology to alert young drivers with a voice reminder when they're speeding, for example, and can detect when they're not wearing their seat belts.

The system is designed to give the driver several opportunities to correct their behavior. If the teen doesn't, Tiwi can notify parents immediately, either by phone, text message or e-mail.

While American companies continue to develop products to help young drivers stay safe, state and local governments are also doing their part to promote safer driving habits.

So far, 30 states and Washington, D.C. prohibit texting behind the wheel. And eight states have now passed laws prohibiting drivers from talking on handheld cell phones.

You May Like

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

Physically and culturally close to Western Europe, Lviv feels solidarity with compatriots in country’s east but says they need to decide own future More

West African Women Disproportionately Affected by Ebola

Women's roles in families and the community put them at greater risk for contracting the disease, officials say More

Video NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Arrives at Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution craft will measure rates at which gases escape Martian atmosphere into space More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid