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Apps aim to decrease accidents caused by texting while driving

Because texting while driving is the cause of many car accidents in West Virginia and across the United States every year, a survey was recently released by the Ad Council for "Stop the Texts Day." The day, aimed at finding ways to decrease accidents caused by texting while driving (TWD), was organized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the US's state attorney general, and the Ad Council.

Responses to the survey indicate that 60 percent of drivers text while driving and the majority of these respondents would continue to do so despite their awareness of TWD accidents. Regarding solutions, 88 percent said a law against TWD would encourage them to stop, and 96 percent said that large fines, a suspended license and/or jail time, higher insurance rates, and other financial and legal consequences would encourage them to stop.

Statistics show that 44 percent of 16- to-24-year-old drivers claim their friends are the biggest influence on curbing their texting, with parents being the second greatest influence at 33 percent. Several new apps have been introduced to help curb the problem.

An app called "App4Drivers," is set up to keep a tally of phone use and players lose points for answering calls and texts while driving. It also tracks things like reasonable acceleration, smooth turns, and easy braking. Another app called DriveMode, by AT&T, has an "away text" that can be turned on when getting in the car. Any calls or texts will receive a response stating that the person they are trying to reach is driving and will respond later.

Although some of the latest communication tools make life easier in many ways, it's unfortunate that some contribute to accidents that could otherwise be prevented. Hopefully awareness and some of the newly proposed solutions will help curb the problem.

Source: The Christian Science Monitor, "Text messaging apps: solution to texting while driving accidents?" Anne Collier, May 2, 2012

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