Are you a safe driver? Is your teen a safe driver? Apparently, we think we are, that much is for sure. 99 percent of Americans (according to a Ford Motor Company Survey) think they are not the problem, that they are safe drivers. Based on accident statistics, I’m pretty sure they are full of something. It’s 2013, though, and safe driving has met with mobile technology and the result has been nothing short of devastating. According to the National Safety Council, there have been 781,055 crashes this year involving drivers using cell phones and texting. Wait, that just changed to 781,056. I’m pretty sure whoever was in that accident thought he was the safe one. The good news is that Sprint might have had a solution for us all along in the form of OBD2 (On Board Diagnostics) devices on their M2M network.
For parents though, while many are guilty of texting and driving, we worry more about our teen drivers. Not only are they only just getting started on the gauntlet of the driving arena (there are so many variables they can’t even begin to consider), they are a generation that almost never puts their phone down. Texting and driving results in 11 teen deaths a day alone, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Teens are dying because they can’t put their phones down in the car. Adults are getting in accidents because they can’t put their phones down in the car. People just don’t seem to understand that it can wait. While states like Florida are passing ineffective laws, the problem just keeps getting worse. Texting and driving is more of a distraction that drinking and driving. A Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study found that drivers looking at their devices while driving, mostly in the texting or email function resulted in an average 4.6 second period in which a driver’s eyes were not focused on the road. At an average speed of 55mph, that’s about the length of a football field. That’s a long time to not be looking at the road.
So, back to the OBD2 devices. Sprint’s M2M (mobile to mobile) Network offers a very simple way for parents to keep their teens safe. After all, if 99 percent of Americans claim to be safe drivers, that means that your teen is probably one of them. Chances are though, they aren’t the safest driver on the road, and neither are you. Sprint has developed several mobile wireless solutions to keep drivers safe, but consumers just might not realize how easy these devices are to obtain. For years the insurance companies have been using OBD2 devices to track fleet vehicles. Sprint has these devices available to insurance companies through their Usage Based Insurance programs. Little known fact — these devices are also available to consumers. All you have to do is ask your insurance carrier.
That’s it. In less than 60 seconds (if it takes you longer than that to plug in an OBD device then I would be very surprised) you’ll have a device tracking the driving behavior of your teen, or even of yourself. While tracking driving behavior might not seem like enough reason to plug in an OBD2 device and possibly pay for a subscription, consider this tidbit — it can disable text messaging. That’s right, which is why groups like like the #drivesafe Moms (yes, that’s a hashtag in a sentence) are standing firmly behind this device. So it tracks driving habits and let me say that last point again: it disables text messaging in the car. You can even have it send out an auto-response text. That’s pretty awesome. I want one for myself to completely shut out the temptation.
Because there is that temptation, it can’t be helped. We are so connected these days that even while driving we can’t seem to disconnect. This is a serious and deadly problem, as statistics keep showing us, yet we aren’t listening. According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 45 percent of teens admitted to texting and driving, 31 percent of U.S. drivers aged 18-64 admit to texting and driving; people are dying and we’re not doing anything about it. That’s why an OBD2 device on the Sprint M2M network is such a good idea. It forces you to shut that behavior off while in the car, something people need to do. Something teens need to do, something we need to do for our teens. There is so much going on while driving, anything that takes your eyes off the road should be banned completely.