Scientists in Finland have revealed that they have come up with a new method of deterring motorists from texting while driving.
Smartphone app VisGuard, which was created at the University of Jyvaskyla, has been developed in order to persuade drivers to put down their phones when they’re on the road. A warning triangle on the screens of handsets will flash if someone is spending too much time looking at it.
The app is also able to use location, speed and images to make the driver aware of any potential hazards. Researcher Tuomo Kujala explained that it can warn motorists of crossroads, tight bends or zebra crossings before they have come into sight. He noted that in tests, motorists paid an average of 15 per cent more attention when using it while driving. However, he acknowledged that there was a risk of drivers using the app to identify potential dangers.
Kujala pointed out that a smartphone ban in cars was not working as figures from the Finnish Road Safety Council show that more than half the motorists in the country use their phone while at the wheel, and as many as a third owned up to texting while driving.
For the time being, VisGuard can only function on Android phones, but the researches want to develop it for all systems before the end of the year.