“Call Me Out” App Aims to Stop Distracted Driving

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Distracted driving is a growing problem. It’s hard to put down that smartphone and drive, even when we all know it’s the right thing to do. There isn’t a thing on your smartphone that cannot wait until your car is safetly parked, but spend two minutes driving and you’ll see people all around you using their phones behind the wheel. Chevrolet’s Call Me Out app hopes to curb that behavior with a little help from your friends.

The app works by first using an accelerometer to detect when the phone is picked up while travelling at speeds over 5 mph. If these conditions are met, then the phone plays a message, but it’s not some unknown voice admonishing to put down your phone. Instead, it’s the people you love.

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It uses personalized recordings from your friends and family members telling you to put down the phone and drive. They even make it a game to do the right thing by keeping track of how often you leave your phone alone when driving.

Ignoring a random voice on your phone is one thing, but to have your kids or your spouse or your mom asking you to please put down the phone and drive is hard to ignore. It’s a good reminder of why we want to get wherever it is we’re going in one piece.

The app was developed during a hackathon hosted by Chevrolet. The goal was to come up with ways to combat distracted driving and the Call Me Out app was the result. Chevrolet partnered with Wayne State University to test the app and to see if it would help influence people to put down their phones.

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A Research Now survey showed that 84 percent of people think distracted driving is dangerous. At the same time, 90 percent of people have done it. Apps like Call Me Now could help bring that 90 percent number down.

It’s currently available only for Android users and can be downloaded for free from the Google Play Store. You don’t even have to have a Chevrolet to make it work because it’s not vehicle-specific. No word on whether they’ll expand the app to include Apple iPhone compatibility.

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Nicole Wakelin

Nicole Wakelin

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