Texting and Driving: Multitasking or Multi-switching?

Information on the go, anytime/anywhere connectivity and an ever-growing number of mobile apps is what has made the smartphone so popular.  Business owners can update their blogs and website, respond to consumers via instant messaging, promote pop-up sales, and check their emails all at the touch of a fingertip.  Consumers can search for a business, shop online, order groceries, and stay in constant contact with anyone they choose.  The possibilities are limitless regarding how smartphone technology has streamlined and improved our day to day routine.

The downside of smartphones is that, as a population, we think we’ve become more talented at multitasking.  We have not.  Multitasking is the art of doing two or more things at once.  In the perspective of an individual, I’ll concede that one can drink a cup of coffee while perusing emails or the morning paper.  You can’t, however, respond to an email without putting that ‘cuppa’ down.

On the other hand, from a technology standpoint, multitasking is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as ‘the simultaneous execution of more than one program or task by a single computer processor.’  From this definition, smartphone multitasking is achieved by being able to run more than one program at once.  All of those open applications on your phone, background processing, and data exchanges are, in fact, multitasking in order to streamline your user experience.

New technology is being introduced daily to help fight against distracted driving. One of the leading platforms is Government App Solutions. They built a mobile app that allows pedestrians and passengers (in ride sharing apps) to capture drivers who are texting while driving. Users must clearly capture the driver using his/her phone and the driver’s license plate all in the same video. While recording certain metadata is tracked, encrypted and sent to backend servers where they are digitally signed to keep and ensure that all evidence is authentic and not tampered with. Submissions are then reviewed by local law enforcement and if approved a citation will be mailed out to the registered owner.

In the United States over 90% of people use smartphones.  When it comes to multitasking we think we are being productive: checking our email, catching up on social media, texting friends, and utilizing our favorite apps.  The truth is that we are multi-switching.  We switch between apps, we switch between talking to family at the dinner table to reading an email, we switch between texting and driving.

Multitasking is doing two things at the same time like chewing gum and walking, singing and showering; mindless acts that can be accomplished while doing other tasks.  Multitasking is not driving and texting.  These two acts require their own individual focus.  You switch your mind off the road and on to your phone.  You switch your hand from the steering wheel and on to your screen.   Reading or responding to a text while you drive takes a minimum of five seconds.  In those seconds, your mind and eyes are taken off the road and directed to your phone.  At 55 miles per hour, your car will travel the length of a football field without your keen awareness to your surroundings.

Distracted driving isn’t just texting, though to date texting while driving is the most dangerous activity that takes your eyes off the road.  It includes driving while using any application on your handheld device.  Any time you use your phone while driving, you are distracted.  Nearly 700,000 drivers grace our roadways everyday while attempting to accomplish a task on their phone. In 2015, the National Safety Council reported that 1.6 million crashes were a result of cell phone usage.

So where do we go from here?  How do we become a nation that puts safety first and our phone’s second?  States are already implementing cell phone bans while driving as well as increasing the fines associated with being caught texting and driving.  The question then is, is that enough?  How safe do you feel on the roads, and what can you do to make your commute safer?

Government App Solutions was designed to give a voice to the community.  The empowerment of the app lets citizens call out distracted drivers and be the eyes of the road for city governments and municipalities. Our hard-working officers can’t be everywhere at once keeping us safe, but together we can unite to curb distracted drivers and make our roads less dangerous.  Check out our website to learn how we can come together to prevent accidents and keep our roads.

To find out more information about Government App Solutions, visit us online at www.GovernmentAppSolutions.com.

Possible Changes to Florida’s 2018 Texting & Driving Laws

Florida’s texting and driving laws could be changing.  Currently the state law of Florida lists texting and driving as a secondary offense.  What that means is that officers can’t pull you over solely for driving while texting.  Instead, another offense needs to be observed in order to issue a ticket for texting and driving.

The new bill, if approved by Florida legislature, would change the secondary offense to a primary offense.  Additionally, the bill increases the penalty for texting and driving.  This bill is a result of research reported by those that filed the motion, Representatives Jackie Toledo (R) and Emily Slosberg (D).  Read more regarding Bill HB 33 here:  https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2018/33/

In Florida, in 2015, 200 fatalities and nearly 39,000 injuries were a result of over 45,000 crashes where distracted driving was a factor.  If the bill is approved, the amended 316.305 Florida Statutes would change how wireless communication devices are used when operating a motorized vehicle.  The goal of these changes is to reduce the number of texting and driving, and distracted driving incidents on Florida’s roads.

Key points of the bill would make texting and driving a primary offense and carry a $30 fine and court fee for a $108 first violation.  Additional violations recorded within 5 years of the first offense increase the fine to $158 and the violator would accrue 3 points to his or her license.  If a driver is violating the new law and a crash results, 6 points are added to the license.  Finally, two points are added to a license if the violator is texting and driving in a school zone.

If the amended bill is voted in, the changes would go into effect July 1, 2018.  Florida would follow on the footsteps of Texas which was the 47th state to ban texting and driving and to list it as a primary offense.

New technology is being introduced daily to help fight against distracted driving. One of the leading platforms is Government App Solutions. They built a mobile app that allows pedestrians and passengers (in ride sharing apps) to capture drivers who are texting while driving. Users must clearly capture the driver using his/her phone and the driver’s license plate all in the same video. While recording certain metadata is tracked, encrypted and sent to backend servers where they are digitally signed to keep and ensure that all evidence is authentic and not tampered with. Submissions are then reviewed by local law enforcement and if approved a citation will be mailed out to the registered owner.

Texting and driving continues to haunt our roadways and jeopardize lives.  Stricter penalties and increased awareness will help reduce the number of deaths reported as a result of distracted drivers.  Our goal, as a company, is to help cities and states prevent more fatalities and injuries by reminding drivers of their responsibility to safety.   Your goal, as a driver, is to put down the phone, pay attention to your surroundings, and drive safe.   With less distractions, we’ll have safer roads and less people getting hurt, or dying, from carelessness.

To find out more about Government App Solutions, find them online at www.GovernmentAppSolutions.com.

 

States Crack Down on Texting While Driving

 

As of September 1, 2017, forty seven states have implemented a ban on texting and driving with Texas being the most recent addition to the list, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.  The remaining 3 states that have yet to join the texting and driving movement are Missouri, Montana, and Arizona.  To be fair, these three states do have some cell phone usage laws in place regarding driving, but to date, have not issued a statewide law.

Despite more and more states implementing laws on texting and driving, only 15 states, to date, have a ban on hand held devices.  Since the inception of cell phones, legislatures have been struggling to come up with effective means of cracking down on cell phone usage while driving.  The statistics prove, over and over, that the use of cell phones while driving distracts drivers and has increased the number of incidents and injuries on our roadways.  Of the 47 states that ban texting and driving, 43 of those states deem it a primary offense.  By this, law enforcement officials do not need a reason to pull you over in addition observing cell phone usage.

New technology is being introduced daily to help fight against distracted driving. One of the leading platforms is Government App Solutions. They built a mobile app that allows pedestrians and passengers (in ride sharing apps) to capture drivers who are texting while driving. Users must clearly capture the driver using his/her phone and the drivers license plate all in the same video. While recording certain metadata is tracked, encrypted and sent to backend servers where they are digitally signed to keep and ensure that all evidence is authentic and not tampered with. Submissions are then reviewed by local law enforcement and if approved a citation will be mailed out to the registered owner.

Texting while driving in some states encompasses not only texting, but any action utilizing the web or web based apps on a cell phone such as accessing social media, checking emails, responding to emails, instant messaging, or searching the internet.  These actions cause more injuries and accidents every year, and as the number of people on U.S. roadways increase, so does the risk of traffic incidents.

In July of 2017 the state of Iowa put into effect a law that made texting and driving a primary enforcement priority.  To date, only 4 states enforce texting while driving as a secondary offense.  However, don’t think you won’t be cited in Florida, Nebraska, Ohio, or South Dakota.  When a person is distracted by their phone, they tend to be cited or warned for a primary offense such as:

  • Speeding
  • Failure to maintain minimum speed
  • Cross the center line (reckless driving)
  • Speeding in school zone
  • Failure to stop
  • Improper turn signal
  • Improper passing
  • Failure to signal turn/change lane

 

What then happens is that a patrol officer can issue you a secondary offense ticket for cell phone use.  Typically, when driving and using a cell phone, you are distracted from the road for a minimum of five seconds.  This can cause you to drift into another lane or oncoming traffic.  You will miss road signs and postings as well as no longer be alert to sudden changes up ahead.

The Texas House Bill 62 went into effect in the beginning of September making it the 47th state to join the fight against texting and driving.  Before the law was implemented city ordinances in various cities around the state had made their own bans against distracted driving.  The state law, signed into effect by Texas Governor Greg Abbott prohibits the use of texting, instant messaging, or emailing while operating a motorized vehicle.

State lawmakers and community members are waking up to the growing problem of distracted drivers’ cell phone usage and the risks involved.  For many, the law is too little too late as they’ve experienced, first hand, the dangers and consequences of using a cell phone while driving.  For some, the state laws help promote saving lives and not becoming another DOT statistic.  Regardless of where you live, all of us can benefit by taking charge of our circumstances and environment by putting the phone down.  Our safety and the safety of others should be more than just a slogan on a billboard; it should be way of life.

To find out more information about Government App Solutions, visit them online at www.GovernmentAppSolutions.com

 

Technology & Innovation: Keeping Your Downtown Alive

Downtown, urban areas throughout the country are in a constant state of renewal.  Housing that once attracted young millennials to city epicenters are now facing empty buildings as those millennials age and their families grow.

In truth, it’s a never-ending cycle that developers have struggled with since the 1940’s.  Young adults are attracted to the nightlife, the city’s offerings, and, in many cases, the proximity to their work.  So how can technology play a role in keeping our downtown areas booming?

As millennials age out, city leaders need to find a way to attract the next generation of renters and owners by forecasting who those people will be.  Will they be young families, retirees, or single men and women attracted to the rejuvenation projects that cities are investing into their urban areas?

New technology is being introduced daily to help cities stay in touch and work with their communities. One of the leading platforms is Government App Solutions. They built a mobile app that allows users to submit ordinance violations, request service, pay tickets and stay up to date with city events and news all on one place.

While technology is one way to increase the attractiveness of a bustling downtown area, cities are adding in free Wi-Fi, smart home technology solutions, and updating how their municipalities are run through streamlined technology.  Yet, in order for these projects to be successful, city leaders need intelligent plans that result in a gain in revenue while still keeping costs appealing to their urban residents.

How can technology help cities?

Parking Enforcement

With a Government App Solutions solution, the efforts of a parking meter campaign change could reduce employee labor hours on the street while streamlining the enforcement system.  Cities looking to expand parking meter hours also have to take into account the cost of monitoring those meters and parking garages.  A mobile solution can build a smart technological plan that will grow city revenue while not jeopardizing additional costs to run a smooth enforcement operation.

Service Request

Any homeowner or renter wants to be proud of their surroundings and where they live.  Having the ability to quickly report unsightly graffiti, dangerous potholes, and cracked sidewalks lets locals take control of their living environment.  The level of pride citizens feel for their city grows and works as a service to improve the cities beautification process.

Code Enforcement

In addition to an easy reporting system for government leaders and citizens, a code enforcement solution can enhance the reporting structure for code violations.  Community members and government workers work together to support and report violations.  The process allows the citizens to bring violations to the attention of their government so time spent on tracking down reports is spent in a more efficient manner.

Other technologies

Throughout America, cities are turning to technology to increase effectiveness and to reduce unnecessary labor hours.  This allows governments to redirect those hours in efficient ways which results in increased productivity.  Open data in New York City or Palo Alto, innovative technology solutions for transportation systems in Augusta, GA, free Wi-Fi in Cedar Rapids, IA, and online reporting solutions in Los Angeles, CA are all ways cities are catering to the ongoing technology needs their downtown areas are demanding in order to keep up to date with modern growth.

Perhaps the best thing about cities utilizing technology to meet the demands of their citizens is that, when done right, the municipality will see economic growth, a reduction of violations, and an increase in revenue.  At the same time, the housing market will remain stable and community involvement grows as members work together to enhance their downtown environment.

To find out more information about Government App Solutions, visit them online at www.GovernmentAppSolutions.com.