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Cell Phone Manufacturers: Safer cell phones

Hands Free and Voice Activated Features Dominate

cell phone manufacturers rapidly turnover form factors to produce the next generation of cell phone models. But cell phones are much more than good looks. Today’s phones must double as audio players, cameras, video players, and personal business assistants. But with all this usability comes the temptation to multi-task even while driving.

Driving while talking or texting on a cell phone is a leading driver distraction. A number of states—with more to follow—have made talking on a phone illegal unless it is via hands-free device. Washington State has now made texting illegal while driving.

New Features Designed for Safer Driving

When redesigning phone models, how can cell phone manufacturers help reduce driver distractions? A few basic phone models still require operators to manually dial numbers and scroll to redial. Dialing diverts a driver’s eyes from the road, which is naturally unsafe. In an attempt to alleviate some distractions, manufacturers have redesigned cell phones to offer more safety-conscious features:

Accessories Add Safety Functionality

Of course hands-free devices are a necessity. In four states drivers may only operate cell phones with hands-free equipment. But according to general safe driving tips, all drivers should use a hands-free accessory if they must use a cell phone. Choose a device with which you are comfortable.

In the late 90s the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had already conducted a comprehensive survey of driver characteristics. The NHTSA used the data to illustrate how cell phones and other behaviors serve as serious distractions to driving. Even then the NHTSA could foretell of the safety movement: “Distraction potential can be minimized by ergonomically sound cellular phone designs.” Numerous new smart phones and accessories are constantly being reviewed on popular Cell Phone review websites.

Promotions for Responsible Cell Phone Use

Partly out of altruistic reasons and to avoid liability, cell phone manufacturers and wireless providers have each found a voice to give to cell phone safety. Here is what a few have done:

Cell makers have a lot riding on their products and reputation, literally. Responsible design, delivery of a clear safety message, and follow-through with safety measures define leaders.

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