Incentivized 'Car Mode' for Phones Could Keep Drivers From Texting Behind the Wheel

Everybody knows texting and driving is a stupid idea – though, unsurprisingly, it seems like a lot of folks think it’s only stupid when someone else does it. They have a good reason, or are doing it the “safe way,” or are better at it than all the other idiots out there. (See also: the belief that “everyone is a terrible driver except me.”)

So, if you’re one of the many people who have sent or read a text while behind the wheel despite knowing the dangers of doing so, what would it take to get you to stop?

The latest update to Windows Phone 8 includes a feature called Driving Mode, which silences calls and texts when activated. From NBC News:

Something that may appeal to motorists: a new Driving Mode will automatically silence incoming calls and texts so that you can focus on the road. You also can configure the feature to automatically send out a reply to say that you’re driving.

It can be activated automatically when the phone is linked wirelessly with a Bluetooth device in the car, such as a headset. Apple has a Do Not Disturb feature for iPhones, but that needs to be turned on manually.

Great feature – the fact that it can be Bluetooth activated makes it dead simple to use, especially since most of us would probably forget to turn it on most of the time. And it would probably work, too – at least for those who really don’t want to text and drive but find it hard to just ignore an incoming text. But what about the folks who think texting and driving is no big deal?

Designer Joey Cofone is pitching the idea of a built-in Car Mode for iOS, which would disable everything except navigation functions and voice-controlled calling while the user is driving. It would also provide a report of any missed calls, texts, or events upon exiting the car.

Like the Driving Mode for Windows phones, it would use Bluetooth to automatically turn itself on while in the car. Unfortunately, in order to avoid disabling passengers’ phones, it would need to be able to be turned off, meaning drivers who didn’t want to use it wouldn’t have to.

Cofone has an idea for that too:

Cofone imagines that Bluetooth-enabled cars would link up Car Mode automatically. “Apple, in theory, can partner with car insurance companies (much like they partner with all sorts of other services),” he adds. For example, logging enough Car Mode hours could help to lower your car insurance rates—a bit like Nest’s deal with energy companies.

So, what do you say? Would you willingly give up your beloved distracted driving for a shot at cheaper insurance?

And if, by some chance, Car Mode was something a driver couldn’t opt out of, would you think it was for better or worse? Chime in in the comments!

(via Gizmodo)

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