One Scientist’s Solution for Distracted Driving

There are many strategies included in what is known as “defensive driving”. Some of these strategies include having proper hand position on the steering wheel, keeping a safe following distance, and successfully scanning the road ahead. You may have learned these strategies in drivers education class when you first got your license or maybe you got a recent refresher because you got a ticket in Texas and took a defensive driving course to keep points off your driving record. Regardless, most drivers know the difference between safe and unsafe driving behavior. Unfortunately, the need to staying connected outweighs the inherent danger that multitasking presents while driving. The results are frightening. The next time you are driving as a passenger in a vehicle, notice how many drivers around you are using their mobile devices while driving. Whether they are texting, checking email, checking their Facebook page, or browsing the internet. The point is they are not giving their 100% undivided attention to driving, which is required to be prepared for the unexpected.

According to the US Department of Transportation, there are roughly 1.6 million crashes annually due to cell phone use while driving. Those crashes result in half a million injuries and over 6,000 deaths. One of those unfortunate deaths may help dramatically reduce this deadly problem. Dave Sueper was driving to meet Scott Tibbitts (a engineer and space entrepreneur) for a business meeting in May of 2008. Unfortunately Dave never made it to the meeting because he was killed after being struck by a teenage distracted driver who ran a red light. Scott was so impacted by this tragic event, that he set out to try and solve this problem for good. The result is a new product called Groove, which can be installed on most newer vehicles (1996 and newer). The Groove communicates with the driver’s mobile phone provider and will block certain functions that could be a distraction (such as texts).

Watch this video of Katie Couric as she interviews Scott Tibbits and they discuss how Groove could result in a breakthrough to minimize the distracted driving problem.

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