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

Ukraine: Mysterious 'Roaming Tank' Reportedly Takes Aim at Smugglers

Ukraine's TV, print media, Facebook abuzz with reports a 'roaming tank' is on the loose, destroying vehicles of those involved in smuggling More

US Wildlife Service Begins Probe of Killing of Cecil the Lion

Minnesota man accused of killing beast is in hiding, has been asked to contact US officials; White House to review extradition petition More

Video Kerry Five-Nation Tour to Cover Security, Iran Nuclear Deal

Secretary of state will visit Egypt, Qatar, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam to discuss security issues, Iran nuclear deal, Trans-Pacific Partnership 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.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs