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.

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