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Are wearable apps an answer to the scourge of distracted driving?

Most American motorists are now aware of the fact that choosing to drive while distracted can be just as hazardous as choosing to drive drunk. Currently, more car accidents are caused by distracted driving behavior than by any other preventable cause. As a result, auto manufacturers, federal regulators and safety advocates are all attempting to mitigate the distracted driving trend in a myriad of ways.

One rather unlikely potential solution to the hazards of distracted driving is being released by Google. Specifically, a new Google Glass app allows Google Glass wearers to access current traffic data on their displays. On the one hand, any potentially viable solution to the current scourge of distracted driving should be carefully considered. On the other hand, wearing potentially distracting technology in order to solve a distracted driving trend seems counterintuitive.

The new app will allow users to access information about traffic conditions displayed in a color-coded map feature by simply saying, “Okay Glass, traffic.” Drivers may be more inclined to pay closer attention to their driving-related tasks if they are aware that potentially frustrating traffic conditions are just ahead. However, it is not clear whether or not accessing head-mounted apps will prove to be more or less distracting than traditional hand-held and dashboard technology has proven to be.

Until more studies have been completed on the safety of wearable apps while driving, it is probably best if motorists avoid all distracting technology while behind the wheel. There is no reason urgent enough that you should risk your own wellbeing and the wellbeing of others by choosing to drive while distracted.

Source: Slash Gear, “Glass Traffic app throws wearables back into driver safety discussion,” Chris Davies, March 3, 2014

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