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New technology might reduce driving distractions

Distracted driving causes numerous accidents in Louisiana every year. Between 2011 and 2015, almost 27,000 people were injured, and more than 190 people were killed because of distracted driving. Although the law has made some behaviors, like texting, illegal to do while driving, many people are still allowing themselves to be distracted while driving.

A major cause for those distractions has been technology. Anything that takes your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, or mind off driving is a distraction, and technology presents some distractions that tempt drivers to do all three. However, technology might be both a cause and a solution to distracted driving.

Car View Mode

A recent Forbes article made note of some new phone application options, which were designed to help reduce driving distractions. One of these options drivers can take advantage of is the new Car View mode available with the music streaming app, Spotify.

Car View mode limits what can be viewed while music is playing. The screen shows in large font only the information related to the currently playing song. It also allows the listener to easily change to the next track. No artwork or other images are visible when Car View is activated, which happens automatically when a phone connects to a vehicle through Bluetooth.

Apps for Hands-free Use

A feature like Spotify's Car View is designed to work with the infotainment technology in new vehicles. However, Car View is not activated when connected to vehicles via a USB or auxiliary cable, which drivers typically use when their vehicles do not contain built in infotainment technology.

According to Forbes, standalone smartphone apps are now becoming available to bring some of the same hands-free technology to older vehicles that is being built into new vehicles. The article listed Drivemode as one such company, and explained that the Drivemode app puts various functions, like navigation and music, onto a simple interface designed to reduce distractions that can otherwise accompany the use of these functions.

Changing the music or interacting with a navigation program can still constitute risks to driving. However, simplified or hands-free applications may reduce our distractions, making the use of these functions a little safer.

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