Talking Motors: Seriously, we need an app to stop us texting

Were you ever offered '˜brownie points' as a youngster for behaving?

By The Newsroom
Friday, 24th February 2017, 8:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 8:37 am
Far from textbook behaviour
Far from textbook behaviour

In our house, not playing rugby inside, helping with jobs and clearing our plates were rewarded by this infamous fictional credit system.

I can clearly remember asking my dad once how many brownie points I had stockpiled, wondering what the exchange rate for an actual reward might be.

I’m sure even with low interest rates I’d have enough for at least a decent holiday now.

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Depending on who you ask, the system in place worked to a point, but that doesn’t mean to say I think a similar one is appropriate for getting drivers to get off their phones when they’re behind the wheel.

Yep. There’s an app to help drivers keep their eyes on the road. I’m as disappointed this needs to be a thing as much as you are.

Mobile phones are another bugbear which make me unsure whether to be angry or worried. You can look into the window of any coffee shop and see a couple perfectly capable of enjoying one another’s company instead opting to peer down at their phones while slowly giving themselves a thumb injury. But our addiction to technology is so bad, you can also see a handful of drivers on every trip texting behind the wheel. It’s as unforgivable as it is stupid.

SafeDrive creator Tudor Cobalas agrees, but only after he nearly crashed his car while driving and texting.

Once the app is downloaded, it will lock your phone screen when it detects you’re traveling at more than 6mph, and will start awarding the user points for keeping their hands off the phone while the car is in motion.

But unlike brownie points, the ones awarded by SafeDrive can be converted into shopping discounts in the SafeDrive Marketplace.

That’s right. People need to be offered discounts to stop using their phones while they are driving!

If you are using the app and you decide the temptation to see what your friends are eating via Instagram is too much, and you reach over for your phone, the display reads ‘Are you sure you don’t want to be Safe anymore?’ with the option to say ‘yes’ which will unlock your phone but wipe your points, or ‘no’ which will let you carry on as you were.

It beggars belief.

This isn’t to say I think Cobalas’ app is a bad thing. Anything that helps people be safe on the road is a Very Good Thing.

What’s sad is that this needs to exist.

We’re not talking airbags or seat belts, the kind of things that help drivers and passengers in an accident.

We’re talking about an app to discourage people from intentionally putting themselves and others at risk through conscious, careless behaviour.

I have a much more simple solution than an app, though mine doesn’t come with the perk of rewarding common sense I’m afraid.

Just put your phone in the boot before you drive. Don’t even bother with hands free. If you miss a call, so what? Do what they did before people had mobiles and wait.