The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recently recommended that all non-emergency use of cell-phones be prohibited while driving. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there were 32,885 highway fatalities in the U.S. in 2010, and over 2.2 million people injured. In that one year, traffic crashes killed 4,280 pedestrians and 618 cyclists. Of all the traffic deaths, at least 3,092 were related to distractions, such as distraction by dialing a cellular phone or texting and distraction by an outside person/event.
However, there may be an easier solution to the problem of distracted driving. On March 20, 2012, a College Park bike shop unveiled a prototype mobile phone application that allows texting drivers to get an alert if there is a cyclist or pedestrian in their path. The new TextSight application for GPS-enabled smartphones will allow texting drivers to virtually “see” bicyclists and pedestrians, even when they are looking down at their phones.
Hear what local cyclists, Greenbelt Mayor pro tem Emmett Jordan, bike nutrition and hydration expert Dr. Allen Lim (The Feed Zone cookbook and Skratch Labs), and cyclocross superstar Tim Johnson had to say about the new app in the attached video. The product demos were done in conjunction with the Tim Johnson Ride on Washington, a benefit for Bikes Belong, and were sponsored by Proteus Bicycles in College Park MD.
The app will be available for wide distribution on April 1, 2012.