Here are two things to consider this holiday season:
- Distracted driving will increase.
- If your smartphone has apps, they can track just about every move you make.
What's the connection? Interestingly, but not surprisingly, your phone
knows that you are more likely to glance at an email or Facebook post
while behind the wheel during the stretch between Thanksgiving and New
Year’s than you might be any other time.
TrueMotion, a company that has a family of driving apps, just released statistics
showing a 33 percent jump in distracted driving over the holidays. The
data doesn’t come from an estimate, but from the smartphones of
3,000 drivers who had downloaded the TrueMotion safe-driving app before
the survey period between November 2017 and January 2018.
TruMotion technology can go into any mobile app to collect driving data
from the phone, a feature that users must opt into. Statistics are then
calculated from a collection of the phone's sensor data, including
speeding and braking, which is analyzed with algorithms. TruMotion assures
users that it can't see any actual content on the phone, like texts
A common question the company receives is, how do you tell who is driving
and who is a passenger?
According to a TruMotion spokesperson, “This is a hard problem to
solve! We do it by looking at a number of factors. These include how the
person rotates in and out of the car when they enter/exit. If they rotate
counterclockwise when entering the car, we know they’re entering
from the driver side of the car. We also look at signals such as if they
connect to the car’s Bluetooth, put the phone on the windshield
(to use maps), and frequent routes. To differentiate from the front and
the back seat of the car, we measure the vibrations of the front and rear
axles as the vehicle travels.”
Based on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's most
recently available data, 3,450 people were killed and 391,000 injured
in crashes involving distracted drivers in 2016. The tragedy of those
statistics combined with the 33 percent increase in holiday distracted
driving make for a cautionary tale.
Texting while driving is banned in 47 states, and some states prohibit
all use of handheld devices while driving. Yet, we all have a story that
involves seeing a vehicle swerving on the highway - only to glance over
at the driver and see their eyes glued to a phone.
Bottom line: you can only control the choices YOU make, and the best way
to stay safe in holiday traffic is to stay off your phone!