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March 27, 2012, 3:51 a.m.
A recent study by the AAA in the USA revealed that distracted driving was a bigger problem than ever, especially for teenage drivers. With electronic devices the number one problem, there were plenty of other causes, such as conversations with other occupants, personal grooming, and eating and drinking.
The one positive conclusion was that there was a significant improvement when an adult was present.
Now while it is not practical for adults to always accompany teenagers in their cars, telematics systems offer a range of alternatives that can have a similar beneficial effect. Some can restrict certain aspects of the vehicle such as music volume or maximum speed, and others can report on incidents such as sudden braking. In-car video systems are also available.
It is time that the safety aspects of telematics were given more attention in marketing materials. This and incentives to install ADAS would do a lot more to rectify the distracted driving epidemic than more laws banning specific activities when driving.