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University Develops App to Stop Teen Texting and Driving

Posted on behalf of Stephens, Anderson & Cummings on Feb 09, 2015 in Auto Accidents

teen texting while drivingThousands of people every year lose their lives as a result of distracted driving. For teens and young adults, their cell phones can be the most distracting and dangerous device in their vehicle.

The University of Minnesota has developed a smartphone app which may put an end to risky driving behavior. By teaching safe driving skills and offering vocal feedback, researchers hope that the program will help keep young drivers safe.

University researchers developed the app, called the Teen Driver Support System (TDSS), after nearly ten years of work into the issue of distracted teen driving. The research team focused on the behavior of texting while driving, because the act of texting requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention. That type of distraction is concerning, because statistics indicated that many teens are texting frequently while driving.  According to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one-fourth of teen drivers indicated that they had responded to at least one text message while on the road, and 20 percent claimed to have lengthy conversations behind the wheel.

In order address this problem, the University of Minnesota set out to scientifically prove that an app could reduce risky driving behavior. The research team recently completed a yearlong study of 300 Minnesota teens in order to better understand the behaviors of newly licensed drivers.

In the University's yearlong study, teen drivers were split into three groups: A control group with no feedback, a group with only in-vehicle feedback, and a group with both in-vehicle feedback and parental notifications.

The smartphone app speaks to drivers, and warns them when they are driving too fast or doing something dangerous. If the behavior is not corrected, the app alerts drivers that their parents have been notified about their behavior. The app prevents teens from using their phone or texting while driving, though the phone can still be used to call 911 in case of an emergency.

The groups which received feedback were safer drivers, tending to speed less and be less aggressive on the road. Parents of the teens who participated in the study also enjoyed the app, and had access to both real-time alerts about their teens driving as well as online records showing extended driving histories.

Right now, the app is not available for download or purchase. However, researchers hope to commercialize the app soon, which may help keep thousands of teenaged drivers safe.

Distracted driving is a serious issue for all drivers, regardless of age. If you or your family member was injured by a distracted driver, you may be able to hold him or her responsible for their negligence. Contact Stephens, Anderson & Cummings today, and learn how our experienced Texas injury attorneys can help you.

Call 877.920.9009 or use our case evaluation form to schedule your free consultation today.