New technology helps prevent distracted driving accidents - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

New technology helps prevent distracted driving accidents

The simulator shows students how dangerous distracted driving can be. (Photo source: WLOX) The simulator shows students how dangerous distracted driving can be. (Photo source: WLOX)
There are apps that will control cells phones while vehicles are in motion. (Photo source: WLOX) There are apps that will control cells phones while vehicles are in motion. (Photo source: WLOX)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Many people may not admit to it, but distracted driving is pretty common. Whether it's texting, dealing with a child in the backseat, changing the radio, or even eating - pretty much everybody behind the wheel is guilty of doing it at some point.

One of leading causes of accidents, a lot of attention is focused on teaching new drivers about the dangers of distracted driving. At Biloxi High School, simulator technology is helping drive the message home.

"Texting and driving is not easy at all. I most definitely don't want to do it, because I ran off the road a couple of times," said Suntasia Fleming.

Students are put through a digital course in the simulator that shows them just how tough it is to drive distracted. According to the drivers education teacher Joseph St. Amant, it's not just cell phones causing the issues.

"It could be eating, it could be looking at signs, it could be looking at people walking down the road," said St. Amant.

St. Amant wants students to know that focusing on the road is a choice that drivers have the power to make. But where sheer will power isn't enough, there are a few apps on the market that help keep drivers focused:

  • AT&T's Drivemode: limits functionality on the phone while car is in motion.
  • Live2Txt: Android app that delays calls and texts until you turn it off.
  • DriveOFF: turns itself on when you reach 10 mph.
  • Canary: monitors all activity that occurs on a smartphone while someone is driving.

Additionally, an incredible technology is quickly becoming standard in vehicles that could help save lives.

"So there's systems that prevent it in the event of a collision, and there's systems that prevent the collision in the first place," said Jonathan Allen, of Allen Toyota.

According to Allen, all new Toyotas coming to his lot have pre-collision system technology.

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"In the pre-collision system, it uses the radars and lasers that are used in the cruise control settings to detect vehicles out front. If it notices that you're approaching something at an irregular speed, it's detecting something could be ahead, it will start by audio cues, it will beep inside the car," said Allen.

The technology will even bring the car to a stop if needed. Another part of this amazing tech is its lane departure assistant that physically steers your vehicle back into its lane if it senses that you're drifting.

The complex systems could one day be the difference between life and death in a distracted driving scenario.

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