STORY BY KATE HAVENS
Efforts against texting and driving have incorporated slogans like “Ain’t no survivin’ textin’ ‘in’ drivin,’” “Arrive alive, don’t text and drive” and “Don’t tempt fate, that text can wait.”
Beyond slogans, There are laws against texting and driving and people who fight it, but in recent news, one man is taking the next step to stop texting and driving completely.
Scott Tibbitts, a chemical engineer, spent five years developing a gadget to block incoming and outgoing texts and to prevent calls from reaching a driver.
The product will be finished in February, and has backing from companies such as American Family Insurance and Sprint.
To discover whether this new product will impact the Drake community, students were asked if they text while driving.
A handful of Drake students admitted they do. Sophomore James Jolly confessed to occasionally texting when it’s an important conversation or if he’s expecting an important message.
Several students explained that they don’t text while in motion, but they will while stopped at a red light.
Senior Betsy Joseph explains that she sometimes texts at a red light.
“Then it turns green, and I end up finishing it,” Joseph said.
Other students question their choice to text while driving.
“I think I’ve done it once, and then I think, ‘This is the stupidest thing I have ever done, why am I doing this?’” said first-year Katy Wellington.
There are several methods to avoiding this trend. The easiest way that many Drake students say help them stay safe is by following an out of sight, out of mind principle — putting the phone down to avoid all temptation.
“I always have my phone in my purse in the passenger seat,” said senior Rachel Conger.
A lesser-known approach to escape the texting while driving temptation is with an app. There are several apps out on the market that block incoming calls, texts and emails.
Depending on the app, a driver either turns the app on when he or she gets in the car or the app may automatically recognize the speed at which the phone is moving and shut off notifications.
Live2Txt, DriveOFF and DriveScribe all operate on Androids. DriveScribe is also available for iOS. Switching an iPhone to Do Not Disturb mode is also a good habit when you hop in the driver’s seat.
With Tibbitts discovery that the telematics box found in newer cars, which can send wireless messages, can be used to detect incoming texts, there could definitely be changes in the texting and driving habits.
Both the phone and car send information about location and movement to a server that will then decide, based on other factors, whether to stop the text from reaching your phone.
If companies chose to implement this technology, people may not have a choice on whether they text and drive.
Whether people make the choice to stop texting and driving or they rely on technology to stop it from happening, according to Phonearena around 5,000 people die in the U.S. each year from texting related accidents.
Sophomore Anna Van Waardhuizen is a subscriber to the simple method of safety — taking advantage of passenger free thumbs.
“My phone is so crappy. I would automatically kill someone (texting and driving), so usually someone else texts for me,” Van Waardhuizen said.