If you receive the Howell Law monthly newsletter, you may have read an article in May’s publication that focuses on “Distracted Driving.” In that article your Charleston car accident lawyer briefly notes several smartphone applications (better known as “apps”) that are intended to help drivers steer away from cell phone distractions in the car. Today your Charleston, SC attorneys became aware of a similar app developed specifically for parents to monitor their teenagers’ smartphones while driving. SecuraFone, as it’s called, is designed to alert parents via text message if their child is driving on roads they are not allowed, if they are speeding, and is also supposed to keep teens from using their smartphones while behind the wheel. In addition, the app enables parents to establish virtual borders and/or speed alerts that inform parents when set limits are reached/exceeded by their teen.
It comes as no surprise to your lawyers in Charleston that an app such as SecuraFone, and others like it, has hit the smartphone market, especially when considering the striking statistics associated with teens and driving. Teens are shown to be the most likely drivers to be involved in a car accident, and oftentimes these accidents can be attributed to unsafe distracted driving practices such as using a cell phone. Further, 31 percent of teens ages 14 to 17 own a smartphone. Thus, products like SecuraFone appear to be a potential solution to curbing the number of distracted teen driving accidents; granted these types of apps and digital products perform to their producers’ claims. Please note that your South Carolina injury lawyers at Howell Law have not used this application and do not adopt of the aforementioned claims. Rather, your lawyers are guardedly optimistic that such products can improve the safety of South Carolina roadways.
Distracted driving has become the latest hot button issue in negative behind the wheel behavior, replacing drunk driving as the foremost traffic safety concern on roadways today. So much so that AAA Carolinas’ Foundation for Traffic Safety and the South Carolina Broadcasters Association have been running television commercials in which real life teen victims of distracted driving share their unfortunate stories. These public service announcements are apart of a major educational campaign to heighten awareness of how distracted driving inhibits the ability to drive safely, regardless of how confidant the driver feels multi-tasking behind the wheel.
The education initiative has taken a particularly hard line against one specific driver distraction, texting. Along with the closing of the commercials, billboards and bumper magnets vehemently display “YOU DRIVE YOU TEXT YOU DIE.” The message is certainly gruesome, but often times it is those kinds of slogans that get peoples’ attention, and hopefully coming to mind before they send their next text message behind the wheel.
Another part of the educational campaign that is worth pointing out is the essay contest sponsored by AAA Carolinas. High school students were asked to compose works about the dangers of distracted driving. As mentioned in the Howell Law Newsletter and on the South Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, it’s highly important for young drivers, or those teens on the cusp of getting their driver’s license, to be thinking about negative impact of driving distracted. Ingraining safe driving practices early will most likely lead to a lifelong habit of driving without distraction. Further, kids and teens are extremely impressionable, and will likely model their driving behavior after those they see most often behind the wheel, namely their parents, grandparents or adult. Thus, if you as a parent or guardian are routinely texting, shaving, etc. on the way to school or soccer practice, your children will retain and replicate the notion that multi-tasking while driving is acceptable, safe behavior. Please set a safe example and take the steps necessary to eliminate your distracted driving practices.