INSIDE MOBILE: Using Mobile Technology to Prevent Texting While Driving

Mobile technology solutions to prevent texting while driving are now being introduced into the market. The initial focus is to prevent teens from texting while driving but, eventually, enterprises will demand some control over corporate cell phone use to help reduce their liability in case of an accident caused by an employee. As Knowledge Center mobile and wireless analyst J. Gerry Purdy explains here, mobile software and hardware to assist in preventing texting while driving will eventually become an active part of every vehicle.


You've undoubtedly seen a news segment on TV or in the press recently about the dangers of texting while driving. I can tell you that I've stopped doing it. My current rule: only text when I'm stopped at a traffic light or when not in a car. I feel I'm protecting myself and those around me by simply putting the phone down when the car's moving.

Many states have already enacted legislation outlawing the behavior of texting while driving. These laws send an important message to everyone: it's against the law to text while driving. Also, automobile insurance companies such as AllState Insurance support the growing number of states that are passing laws outlawing texting while driving.

I agree that these laws should be enacted. After all, its common sense that texting is a major distraction while driving. Recently, I was driving southbound on Georgia 400, just north of I-285 in Atlanta. A woman who was going close to 80 mph in the left lane came past me. I looked over and was aghast: she had her elbows on the steering wheel and was holding a BlackBerry up in her hands above the steering wheel-and was texting away. I quickly moved over a lane to avoid being close to someone who was being so reckless. But, we're going to create a new problem in the process of enacting these "No texting while driving" laws. Here's why.

There's a big problem with these "No texting while driving" laws: they are hard to enforce. How do you know if someone is texting while driving if they are holding the phone in their lap or texting with the phone on the seat or mid-section between the front seats? And, what if you have a medical emergency and need to call for help? It's easy to see there is going to be a lot of confusion on how to enforce the new laws. And we'll have to develop a whole new set of case law around this topic. Prosecutors and defense lawyers will have to deal with an entirely new area of law. I can hear it now: "My client wasn't texting. She was simply listening to music on her phone."

I believe that we need to use mobile technologies to help solve this problem, along with a good dose of education and behavior modification. We need to create a safer environment for everyone in and around a car that's moving at high speed on a highway (or any road for that matter).