Putting a Stop to Traffic Accidents: How Startups are Challenging Distracted Driving

The increasing number of traffic accidents with fatal consequences due to distracted driving, has forced the government to focus more on traffic regulations as a way to discourage the use of mobile phones while driving. The need for getting to places in an instant, the use of GPS services, and the advantages of mobile communication and social media for businesses has shaped a routine that’s hard to break for most users. Older, experienced drivers are the ones that mostly fall into these unhealthy driving habits.

Fortunately for many, entrepreneurs are working on a solution to these reckless practices. Many Startups are even getting featured in the media for working on fixes for distracted driving.

The Reason Why Distracted Driving Is So Prevalent In Society

Ever wondered why so many drivers fall victim to distracted driving? Because once done without seeing any consequence, it encourages our brain to do it again – maybe because of the thrill, or just from thinking about those “seconds” you are saving by not parking to check your mobile device.

For most distracted drivers, those practices are only called to an end when costly traffic tickets are applied, or after a traffic accident takes place. Distracted driving gets worse over time, because you have proven to yourself that you can excel at multitasking while driving. However you never considered what might happen in case you get “too distracted” to notice what’s right in front of your car.

Photo courtesy of SplitShire

A Collective Strategy for Improving Your Driving Skills

What’s drawing gamers all over the world to play more games? The rewards you can get by completing missions. So why not apply this gamification approach to fix a life-threatening habit? That’s exactly what the Startup TrueMotion did with their app: The Mojo.

A catchy-name, an easy to use layout and promising rewards for proper driving behaviour is the recipe of this Bostonian initiative. With ‘The Mojo’, drivers get virtual points that later on can be traded for real-life rewards if no distractive driver behaviour is detected while a user is behind the wheel.

Photo courtesy of Breakingpic

How does the Mojo work?

How can this app work for getting accurate data on what needs to be measured? The Mojo works in the background, detecting movements and behaviour patterns the user makes by acquiring data from a smartphone’s sensors – much like how fitness apps work these days. Without blocking any application, after a driving session is completed and the user has refrained from texting or engaging on mobile apps, those points are awarded, which sum up to a scoring system that’s updated in real-time. A minute of distraction-free driving equals to a point, which you can currently trade for Amazon Gift Cards (TrueMotion hopes for more partners to join this project to offer a large variety of catchy rewards).

When Distracted Driving gets in the Work Shift

According to research done on distractive driving practices, 60% of all distractions are when looking or talking to passengers in the back seat. This kind of distraction is common for drivers, and this can lead to “light mistakes” being made on the road. Professional drivers consider this distraction a big NO, but unfortunately, even they get distracted more often than they would like to admit.

So, what can fleet owners do to protect their businesses against hazardous practices made by their drivers? A Palo Alto based app can be the answer to these prayers.

Nauto, an exciting project that merges software and hardware for the sole purpose of helping drivers, is causing quite the media hype for the professional driving industry. The reason for this is that the project does not limit its capabilities to just “capturing” data that can be used to review driving habits, but it also gives managers the ability to check in real time what’s going on in their driver’s cars.

The highlight of this app is that managers do not need to scroll over thousands of hours of video footage to spot a moment in which the driver is distracted: as soon as the sensor picks up unwanted practices from the driver while the car is in motion, the manager gets a notification that a certain car’s driver is engaged in distracted driving practices. The app also records footage of what’s going on both inside and outside the car, tracking the position of the cars or obstacles nearby.

Photo courtesy of Roman Pohorecki

The endgame for this promising startup isn’t just helping professional drivers: it’s all about data gathering for self-driven cars, so that they won’t fall for the same distractions as humans do.

Once again, entrepreneurs are showing the path to follow by recognizing the issues that should be fixed in the short term, while at the same time providing an inexpensive or non-heavily technical answer to the problem. It’s all about knowing when to exploit a chance for success.


A traveller by day and reader by night' is how I would sum up my life. My wanderlust led me to quit my cushy job at 28 and finally embark on a journey around the world. Since then, I have lived in many countries and soaked in as many books as possible during my travel journeys. Among them, the "Book of Mirdad" is still my personal favourite and holds a special place in my heart. My progression towards writing was inevitable and happened quite naturally. I have been writing for a few years now an...

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