The growth of online drivers ed programs is representative of the role technology plays in our everyday lives. Mobile phones have become increasingly prevalent in our day to day activities, and the vast majority of drivers now own smartphones. While mobile devices pose serious problems while on the road, it is hopefully only a matter of time before they have a positive, lasting impact on the way we drive.
Cell Phones Are A Primary – And Deadly – Reason Behind Distracted Driving
Although distracted driving is considered any activity that could take a driver’s attention away from their primary focus (obviously driving, in this case), the main culprit typically is cell phone use. Operating a cell phone requires the drivers’ visual, manual, and cognitive attention.
Distraction.gov, a website dedicated to distracted driving, presents alarming statistics on the matter. In 2014, 3,179 people were killed and 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
The percentage of drivers text-messaging or visibly manipulating handheld devices increased from 1.7 percent in 2013 to 2.2 percent in 2014. And at any given daylight moment, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has steadily increased over the past few years.
Unfortunately, no matter how many advertisements are shown on tv or lessons are taught in driving classes, it seems more and more individuals are making the dangerous choice to use their phone while driving.
Teens Crashing Their Vehicles Due To Distracted Driving
Fortunately, Companies Are Using Mobile Phones As Means To Promote Safe Driving
As driving classes shifted from boring classroom sessions to engaging online courses, one company, in particular, saw an opportunity to revolutionize the market.
Aceable, based out of Austin, Texas, offers the first-ever mobile app for driver’s ed courses. Their goal is to have fun while learning, with a desire to empower people to learn to drive.
CEO Blake Garrett believes that “having these courses on an app is a far more interactive experience than on a browser.” Promoting a program that people will want to take, versus a program that people have to take, will hopefully instill safe driving practices that will actually be applied while on the road.
The company recently raised an additional $4 million and seeks continued expansion and growth. Aceable would like to develop a curriculum beyond driver’s ed and recently launched an app for a defensive driving course.
Garrett has stated, “We also know that a new generation of students is less inclined to absorb the same dry lecture or reading material, much of which hasn’t been updated in decades. That’s why we tailor our content to accommodate different learning styles and allow students to access it in a way that’s unlike any previous approach to driver’s ed.”
If you are seeking online drivers ed for Texas, California, or one of the other states Aceable’s curriculum is approved, click here for a 10% discount today! The curriculum has a 98% pass rate and is a fun, informative method of meeting a driving requirement.
Check your state’s DMV to see if they will accept Aceable’s online program, and sign up today.
Another company, eDriving, seeks to use your phone to reward you for safe driving. Born from Driversed.com and I Drive Safely – two companies who are extremely reputable and recommended if you’re looking for an online drivers ed program – eDriving is a smartphone telematics solution that seeks to improve driving behavior.
Their mission is to maximize road safety by using technology and online learning expertise to empower drivers to control their behaviors behind the wheel.
eDriving has introduced an app called Mentor that would capture data such as acceleration, braking, cornering, speeding, cellphone distraction, and other behavioral data, as well as provide proprietary and predictive analytics while driving.
According to eDriving spokeswoman Regina Lewis, Mentor would “turn your phone into a black box.” The app would provide feedback that would identify areas that need improvement and would provide tutoring based on these areas of need. Additionally, the company hopes that the app would provide information to your insurance company, incentivizing them to reduce their rates to safe drivers. Naturally, there would be an incentive for drivers to drive safely!
These are just two of the main apps that promote safe driving habits. Lately, more apps have been appearing, many of which can be used by parents to disable texting and emailing on smartphones while their children are behind the wheel.
This innovation and growth will hopefully lead to safer roads in the near future.
Some Mobile Apps that Every Driver Must Have
Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine going on a trip without your phone. Your phone serves as your all-around companion for everything that your car may need during a trip. You just have to download the right app. Some of the most popular ones are the following, but there’s a lot out there!
Waze and Google Maps
These two are no doubt the best navigation apps for drivers this year. Waze’s strength lies in crowdsourcing ability, enough to convince Google that it’s worth acquiring for about a billion dollars.
Although Waze’s decisions on which route to take can sometimes be questionable, it still helps a lot in finding the quickest way to your destination. For drivers who are not that experienced in reading road signs and directions, Waze (and Google Maps) is a lifesaver!
With around 110,000 fuel stations incorporated in its database, GasBuddy has almost every station operating in the U.S. tracked. You can easily find the closest fuel station to your location, and sort by fuel type and grade. Plus, you can easily compare prices so you can decide which one sells the cheapest.
If GasBuddy is to fuel stations, Trapster is to traffic cameras and speed traps. The Trapster community is focused on one thing – helping drivers avoid getting speeding tickets. In addition to that, this app also informs the driver about the current speed limit wherever he or she is. It also displays a speedometer to keep the driver in check as to how fast they are driving.
Find My Car and Honk
These two apps serve one important purpose – finding your car wherever they are parked! Remember how many times you were lost in the vast parking space looking for your car? You might want to download either one now.
Here’s the thing though, while Find My Car can be downloaded for free, Honk isn’t. But if you want additional features such as a parking-meter timer and great graphics, then Honk’s worth it.
As the name suggests, this free app helps you find the nearest repair pals to your location.
Gone are the days when you had to ask for help to find the nearest repair station. Now, you only need to open the app to get accurate information.
If you need to buy some vehicle parts, it can also recommend physical and online stores where you can buy them.
What’s more? It records your car’s repair history so you can have the information any time you need it. It even provides accurate estimates for your repair expenses.
The Future Of Mobile Phones While On The Road
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has also taken steps to reduce driver distraction, and we could ironically see increased integration between our cars and our phones.
It was suggested that companies design mobile phones so that they can be paired with in-car systems, and can be operated on using the driver’s interface.
While these are great suggestions and changes that will certainly be impactful, I cannot help but think of them as “band-aids.” The root of the problem is not being addressed, and adapting smartphones into a car’s interface still prompts drivers to stay focused on their phones.
Connecting with drivers taking online drivers ed programs will be a huge challenge as we move into a technology-driven future. People are not putting their phones down, and it is prompting unsafe habits while on the road.
Fortunately, the use of mobile phones can be used beneficially.
It is encouraging to see companies recognize this reality, and strike to further develop and enhance online driving classes.
By finding a positive incentive to take these courses and practicing safe driving benefits, we can hopefully begin to connect with those who are currently endangering lives whenever they are behind the wheel.