|Thursday, June 4, 2020
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Use of mobile phones or smart phone devices 

At some point in our driving career we have all answered or attempted to answer a telephone call on our mobile phone whilst driving. This we all know is illegal and of course can be very dangerous and in some cases fatal too. According to Guardia Civil statistics any distraction whilst driving is likely to cause an accident or incident and the use of a mobile phone tops the list in almost all countries.

One used to be permitted to answer an incoming call providing you were wearing an ear device specifically made for this purpose but this was made illegal some time ago. Currently using a device which is hands free is legal but touching your GPS device is not.

There is only really one way to answer a call whilst in your car and that is to stop in a safe and convenient place that does not hinder other road users (this does not mean the hard shoulder of the autopista). If you miss a call you can always call back when you have stopped driving and your life and that of other road users or even in some cases pedestrians are then safe from harm from you and your vehicle.

New technology being brought into the market such as smart watches and similar devices that can be linked to your mobile phone potentially pose an increased risk as they are often more distracting than just a ringing or often a song used as a ring tone. This market is increasing as people search for more up to date technology to keep up with the times and often to prove to their “friends” that they have the latest gadget on the market.

With the current development of driver less cars moving at a rapid speed Internet giant Google is trying to attempt to help solve some of the problems arising which are caused by humans behind the steering wheel and they have currently patented a system, primarily for smart watches, but which will no doubt be expanded in due course if successful, that will detect your personal location in the vehicle driver’s seat, passengers seat, or rear of the vehicle etc. Not only will it detect your location it will be able to monitor your movements such as steering the car or gear changing the device detects that you are the driver, it automatically disables some of the more distracting functions thereby reducing the risk of a loss of concentration and or a potential collision or accident.

Whilst humans are in control of any such device the element of risk remains as does the temptation to multitask, i.e. answer your phone whilst continuing to drive either one handed or with neither hand on the steering wheel. I am sure we have all witnessed people driving and texting at the same time, an all too common occurrence in this current day and age.

The fact that a Global enterprise such as Google is trying in some way to assist with these problems should be recognised and praised as no doubt others will be quick to follow or may indeed be working on this at this moment in time but not disclosing it for the risk that some other company will ” steal” their ideas.

Currently for Android phones there is an app available called the Muting App. This is a free app and by activating it either manually or automatically all calls and notifications are silenced, vibrate is cancelled and the screen is switched off. This has been designed to avoid distractions whilst driving. By activating this app all calls, notifications and vibrate is switched off from the moment the engine is started until the car is parked. If a call is repeated it is considered urgent and will where possible be passed to the vehicles hands free system. No calls are lost but are stored and by simply getting out of the car all normal functions return.

Other Muting apps act in different ways and are generally activated through the vehicles hands free, Bluetooth or by manual activation. In these cases your contacts can see your status as either not available or driving. Some Apps advise the caller by a chat that you are driving and when this is not available it is possible to notify them by text message