Could Your Car Rat You Out?

We’ve all done it. DWD – Driving While Distracted. Whether it is your cell phone, the morning paper, eating or even make-up application (don’t laugh, we’ve all seen someone on the freeway putting on lipstick!).

New technology emerging will actually monitor and video your driving habits. Every time you sharply jolt the wheel or slam on the break, your car will track it and shoot video footage for your review. More than 40,000 people die every year in motor vehicle crashes, and research indicates that failures of attention probably played a role in most of those crashes. Crashes and near-crashes are about two to three times more likely to happen when the driver is performing a complex task not related to driving.

Based on a study completed by John D. Lee, a professor of mechanical and industrial engineering at the University of Iowa, 88 percent of the respondents judged themselves to be safer than the average driver. And Lee said his own camera-monitoring research has shown that teen drivers in particular “don’t notice what they don’t notice.”

In one case he studied, a driver looked away from the road for 6 seconds to tap out a text message on her phone, slipped out of her lane and came to attention only when the tires hit the curb. “When she actually saw the video from the perspective of the camera, she was shocked to learn that she almost hit a telephone pole at 40 miles per hour,” Lee said.

Lee’s method of installing a special camera system that saves video snippets for the 10 seconds before and after every abrupt movement on the road. After the video was taken, it was put on a CD and given to the driver with a report card that showed the number of events triggered by the cameras.

The effects of his study were staggering. After feedback sessions, the events triggered by risky drivers declined 89 percent.

These monitoring systems are currently being used to check up on motor-fleet and teenage drivers. There are some car manufacturers that are already starting to install them in their new cars (high-end Toyota and Volvo models for examples).

While these video monitoring systems could cause some privacy issues, especially if auto-insurance companies are able to get their hands on them, they could also make us all a lot safer. If drivers are able to see their actions, and near misses, it could create safer drivers and safer roads for everyone.

To read the full article, click here.

Posted by: Lauren

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