Drivers are aware of the risks when they take their hands off the wheel or eyes off the road. But this has not stopped drivers from using smartphone apps. This kind of distracted driving is becoming a common contributing factor in car accidents involving serious injury or death.
Fortunately, Entrepreneur reports a new startup is looking to remedy this problem. One solution would be to give drivers access to their phones, text messages, emails and apps without having to take their eyes off the road. The Tel Aviv startup is Project RAY and its device is called RayGo.
Using this new technological advance, a driver would be able to look straight ahead at a transparent windshield display to see who is calling. They could also view turn-by-turn navigation and read and respond to emails and text messages. Apps on your smartphone could be synced up to “talk” with you while you are behind the wheel of your vehicle.
The gadget is designed to attach directly to the steering wheel, so drivers would not have to remove their hands from the steering wheel while driving. Access to the device and its features could be obtained through the steering wheel remote or voice commands.
This is not the only heads-up windshield display startup company with products that have similar features. In other devices, calls could also be answered or ended with a swipe of the hand. Will this making drivers more safe? Can a transparent windshield display really reduce driver distractions?
Will Heads-Up Windshield Displays Be More or Less of a Distraction to Drivers?
RayGo’s touted safety features and built-in security functions inhibit use if the gadget determines it is unsafe for the driver. However, we wonder whether this heads-up windshield display will also end up as a distraction to drivers. The New York Times even reported about such devices being at the center of heated debates on whether similar devices simply enable drivers to continue engaging in risky behavior behind the wheel.
Yes, the device does not require drivers to look away or remove their hands from the steering wheel, but having other objects appear on your windshield and in your line-of-sight could be a new kind of distraction in itself. As soon as a driver sees, a message or call pop up on the windshield display, isn’t it likely his or her attention is no longer on the road ahead?
On the other hand, if drivers are going multi-task regardless of risk, wouldn’t it be a good idea to have a device capable of minimizing the dangers? It would likely take some getting used to, but having a heads-up windshield display might at least allow drivers to keep their eyes facing the road and hands on the wheel, potentially protecting lives.
Distracted Driving Statistics
Reducing the hazards and risks of driver distractions is essential as distracted driving has become a serious problem here in Vancouver, as well as throughout Canada. The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) reports that 80 percent of vehicle-related collisions and 60 percent of near-misses involve some type of driver distraction or inattention. In British Columbia, 104 motor vehicle fatalities in a recent year reportedly listed distracted driving as a key contributing factor.
Across North America, more than four million traffic collisions can be attributed to driver distraction. Distracted driving also increases the risk of accident by at least three times over attentive driving. In fact, between 20 and 30 percent of all vehicle-related accidents involve driver distraction.
Reducing driver distractions might save countless lives each year. The effort could also reduce the $10 billion lost annually as a result of medical costs from car accidents and lost productivity.
Using an App to Improve Your Driving Skills
Meantime, another app could help you improve your driving skills. The recently released Dash app connects to your vehicle through your smartphone. It can track your driving habits and relay real-time data back to you. The hope is that the app will make drivers more aware of the driving habits which put themselves and others at risk, as well as habits affecting fuel efficiency.
Auditory alerts may be made for braking too quickly, accelerating too fast, speeding, poor fuel efficiency and other unsafe driving habits. The app may also provide alerts to potential vehicle problems. You may be alerted if your vehicle is running low on gas or the tire pressure is below the recommended levels. Drivers will be able to hear immediate feedback and also review their Dash score at the end of a driving trip. It’s a completely hands-free app and does not pose an unnecessary distraction to drivers.
The intention behind this and other driver-assistance apps seems to be to minimize the potential risks drivers and passengers face, particularly in a world driven by technology. Hopefully we’ll be able to implement these advancements, and other in-vehicle technologies, to reduce the risk of accidents caused by inattentive or distracted drivers.
- Entrepreneur: This Gadget Lets You Text and Use Apps While Driving, Without Looking at Your Smartphone
- The New York Times: Windshield Devices Bring Distracted Driving Debate to Eye Level
- Canadian Automobile Association: Distracted Driving
- Fast Company: Can This App Actually Make You a Better Driver?