Promoting Responsible Driving Through Technology

According to the figures provided by the UK government, there were 1,695 fatalities in 2022. Road crashes consistently rank as the major cause of injury and death around the world.

Reckless, distracted, and irresponsible driving habits remain a pervasive problem with tragic costs around the world. Automotive accidents result in individual tragedies and burden the UK healthcare system.

However, there are promising new technologies that aim to curb dangerous behaviour and instill safer driving practices. From AI-powered monitoring to geofencing speed controls, innovative solutions are emerging to target risky conduct and empower drivers to improve.

Let’s examine some key tech-based approaches to promoting responsible driving on our roadways.

Monitoring Systems Inside the Car

Current figures put human error as a cause of road accidents at 90%. That’s major!

Human errors come in different forms that include diverted driver attention. Your attention can be diverted by such activities as talking on the phone, texting, eating, or even adjusting the infotainment system.

Human error can also occur in activities that impair reaction times such as fatigue, alcohol, and drugs. So, what new technology can promote responsible driving by reducing human error?

One avenue for influencing drivers directly is installing monitoring systems within their . Fleet managers have leveraged basic GPS tracking of company vehicles for years to confirm appropriate use. for more information.

Now new capabilities take this further.

AI dashcams can detect distracted driving activities like phone use and analyse concerning behaviours in real time. If a distracted driver is identified, the system can intervene with audible alerts. Knowing their driving patterns are being continually scrutinised incentivizes safer habits.

Next-gen in-vehicle systems even integrate physiological sensors to detect drowsiness and intoxication based on driver vitals and responses.

If impairment is detected, interventions like limiting vehicle speed could prevent tragedy. While controversial for privacy reasons, in-vehicle monitoring applied ethically could significantly reduce accidents.

Geofencing and Speed Limiters

Geofencing uses GPS technology to create virtual boundaries with specific rules attached. This allows precise vehicle control within designated high-risk areas. For example, geofencing could impose mandatory low-speed limits around schools or construction zones.

Once a vehicle enters a geofenced zone, onboard systems automatically restrict speed to safer levels. This “forced compliance” approach removes reliance on driver judgement. Geofencing provides location-based intelligence, so vehicles essentially regulate themselves in vulnerable areas.

A major benefit is overriding problematic driver behaviours only when entering high-risk hotspots instead of universally restricting vehicles. This balances safety needs with driver autonomy. As the technology matures, we may see widespread adoption around high-pedestrian zones, accident-prone intersections, and other hotspots.

Gamification To Motivate Good Habits

Gamification leverages people’s competitive motivations and engages them through game elements like scoring, levels, challenges, and rewards.

Gamification techniques are gaining traction in the driving context as a positive behaviour motivator. But how do they work?

Apps like Drivescore and Sherpa provide interactive coaching and feedback during drives while awarding points for smooth acceleration/braking, fuel-efficient cruising speeds, and attentive habits. By benchmarking against their own past performance and competing on leaderboards, drivers are incentivised to hone skills and practise safe techniques.

Other apps include rewards like gift cards or insurance discounts for maintaining high scores over time. Making safe driving fun, social, and rewarding could complement regulatory interventions. Gamification’s potential to motivate voluntary behavioural change through positive reinforcement is promising.

However, gamification technology relies on the driver’s willingness to improve their driving habits on the road.

Peer Monitoring and Social Accountability

Humans inherently care about maintaining standing and garnering approval among peers. So, leveraging these social motivations could help curb irresponsible driving, just like fitness apps use social pressure to encourage exercise.

Rather than top-down monitoring by insurers or the government, grassroots peer monitoring apps let groups like families, carpools, and neighbourhoods keep each other accountable. Drivers install tracking apps and get rated by others on patterns like speeding, harsh braking, and phone usage. Positive driving earns kudos, while poor performance leads to social shaming.

Knowing their behaviour is being continually judged could persuade drivers to impress others with responsible conduct. However, privacy concerns exist around extensive peer surveillance. If carefully implemented, socially fueled accountability could inspire positive change.

Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) Communications

A promising new technology allows vehicles to communicate with each other or with infrastructure on the road to promote safety.

With V2V networks, cars closer to each other will transparently share real-time data and warnings of hazards to improve situational awareness.

For example, when one car suddenly brakes, your car several yards away gets a safety warning to prevent a crash. V2V has the potential to save numerous lives on the road.

Likewise, V2I allows vehicles to interact with traffic lights, work zones, and road features for finely tuned control. Combining live peer data with infrastructure alerts gives enormous potential to coordinate vehicles for optimal safety and traffic flow.

While true vehicle autonomy is still some distance away, V2V and V2I communications allow essentially ‘peer-based autonomy’ in the near future. Regulating vehicles as ad-hoc cooperative networks rather than purely individually could significantly advance roadway safety as adoption spreads.

Building a Driving Data Commons

Responsible driving necessitates a better understanding of real-world behaviours, conditions, and risks. However, limited access to transportation data today hinders progress. Initiatives like The Open Mobility Foundation aim to solve this by building shared data platforms for universal access.

Enabling cities and agencies to contribute anonymized trip data, vehicle sensor logs, and infrastructure feeds to a secure cloud repository creates an open analytics hub. Researchers can then glean powerful insights from aggregated data to guide safety innovations. Mobility companies also benefit from richer data to train algorithms.

Shared data commons will unlock transparency and collaborative innovation to make driving safer. Countries like Japan are pioneering centralised repositories with early success. The insights waiting to be uncovered could transform how we regulate, engineer, and interact on roadways.

Technology’s Role in a Multifaceted Solution

While technology cannot single-handedly transform driving cultures developed over decades, targeted interventions can positively influence behaviours. Tech-based solutions will work best when combined with reforms in laws, education, infrastructure, and vehicle design.

Responsible mobility requires viewing drivers compassionately and understanding the psychology behind poor decisions before simply restricting freedoms. Technology allows precisely tailored solutions that balance discipline and empathy. Our shared roadways will become safer as science-driven innovation and compassionate care converge to help all drivers exercise good judgement.

What do you think?

Written by Liviu Marcus

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