Distracted driving is becoming an increasing problem as more and more technology in our vehicles competes for a driver’s attention. In the United States, texting while driving now exceeds driving while intoxicated as the greatest cause of death and injury for teenage drivers. In a study concluded in 2011, Researchers at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York found that “Fifty percent of high school students of driving age acknowledge texting while driving” (see Long Island Newsday article). However, the problem of texting while driving is not limited to a single age group or country. An excellent web site documenting the problem may be found here.
In response, New Zealand mobile services provider Vodafone created their DriveSafe program to help eliminate the temptation to text while driving and to promote roadway safety. Under this innovative service, drivers can remove the temptation to read or respond to text messages while driving. By texting “Drive On” to short code 760 prior to driving, a user’s text messages will be held until they have completed their drive. Individuals sending text messages to the driver will receive an automated reply such as “I’m driving at the moment. I’ll read your text as soon as it is safe to do so.”
When drivers are ready to check their messages they simply text “Drive Off” to the same short code. Messages received while DriveSafe is activated will then be available for review and reply.
The service is provided free of charge to Vodafone customers. In addition, there is no charge to the customer for auto-reply messages sent while the system DriveSafe system is active. If a driver forgets to deactivate DriveSafe the system automatically turns off after 24 hours.
For more information about the DriveSafe program click link to Vodafone’s DriveSafe web page: http://www.vodafone.co.nz/apps-services/mobile-services/drive-safe/
To view the DriveSafe program profile on the SMS in Action Crowdmap page click here.