Irony knows no bounds.
Chevrolet thinks a new app will be able to help curb distracted driving. The company’s new “Call Me Out” app for Android smartphones attempts to fuse technology with the love of family and friends in order to put a stop to the dangerous practice of smartphoning and driving.
It’s not just a problem facing young people either, according to a recent Research Now survey, 84 percent of people admit that distracted driving while handling a phone is dangerous, yet 90 percent of drivers have done it. So what do we do about it?
The app is fairly simple in operation. It uses a combination of the phone’s accelerometer and GPS to understand if the phone is being picked up while traveling at speeds above five miles per hour. Should it notice that you’re moving at speed, the phone will begin to play personalized messages from family and friends asking the driver to put the phone down. It’s unclear if the app could or would be triggered as a passenger in someone else’s vehicle, in the back of a cab, or even riding the bus.
Additionally, the app also incorporates an aspect of gamification. Points will be awarded based on the number of times the phone is handled while driving, the fewer the interactions the more points available, there's even a scoreboard and a ranking system.
“Today’s vehicles offer a range of active safety features like Lane Keep Assist and Forward Automatic Braking that help drivers stay more aware of their surroundings,” said Tricia Morrow, Chevy safety engineer. “But we also know the vehicle is only one element.Chevy’s Call Me Out app gives drivers another great tool to reinforce good driving behaviors — and as a mom of a teenage daughter, I personally know how important it is to model good driving behaviors and encourage others to do the same.”
Unfortunately, the irony of creating a smartphone app to curb smartphone usage in impossible to avoid, especially as automakers across the globe push to add increasingly-complex infotainment features and connectivity while continuing to lecture the populace over distracted driving. Regardless, Call Me Out is available to download through the Google Play Store, with no iOS version announced.