Google & Apple: stop tragic deaths and injury on roads from mobile/cell phones

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We have all seen drivers on their mobile/cell phones while behind the wheel. We have become so addicted to these devices that we are ignoring the very real dangers this distracted driving places on the lives around us. Graham's story will shock you as you realise you could have been the driver too!

Graham Walters, a cyclist, paramedic, member of the cancer charity team the Vision Crusaders who have raised over $1.4m for cancer research, father and husband, was out training on his ride bike in August of 2016. He was as far left in the shoulder as he could safely be, when a driver, distracted by her mobile/cell phone swerved in her four wheel drive at 80km/h (50 mi/h) hitting Graham from behind. Miraculously, Graham survived from his horrific injuries, but he is now a paraplegic. The impact on Graham, his family and friends has been enormous with many dark period since the accident and significant financial burden.

Graham’s story is one of millions of such stories around the world. Drivers causing death and injury as a result of being distracted by the use of their mobile/cell phones, including killing themselves.

Google & Apple, we have driverless cars already thanks to the use of mobile/cell phones by drivers of cars and trucks, and it's killing and injuring millions of people around the world. And you Apple and Google, have the power to stop this death and injury through simple and effective changes to your IOS and Android operating systems. Imagine that! Simple technology changes, using existing product capabilities, could be easily enhanced to fix this problem. Millions could be saved from the death and injury caused by distracted drivers while using their devices.

Mobile/cell phone distraction has been identified as a contributing factor in 25% of car accidents and a staggering 71% of truck accidents. It’s also been identified as a contributing factor in 46% of ‘near crashes’. 69% of mobile/cell phone users used their phone while driving. Of these, only 28% reported using a hands-free bluetooth car kit. And worse, the highest level of mobile use while driving come from the youngest drivers, aged 18-24, which also make up 27% of all road fatalities.

It is as dangerous as drink driving. Perhaps the same penalties should apply?

If you are a parent, emergency services personnel, police officer, work in a hospital, government agency, motor vehicle company, cyclist, road user, spouse, brother, sister or someone who cares, then you should sign this petition. Everyone is affected and the solution is simple and a no brainer!

Apple & Google you have the power, for very low effort and cost, to massively reduce the incidence of distracted drivers through simple enhancements to your Android and IOS mobile/cell operating systems - the new IOS 11 is a complete farce, trying to help Apple look like they are doing something about it, but does not address these issues at all and will never be used by anyone. Here is all you have to do Apple & Google:-

  • Auto enable “Do Not Disturb” when mobile/cell phones immediately it starts moving in a car. Do not make this an "opt-in" setting as no one will use it otherwise
  • Allow certain apps to be used while driving under certain conditions - like Maps, or inbound calls if Bluetooth connected
  • Keep SMS messages notifications silent and with NO notifications until after the car has parked - and automatically respond to senders with “sorry, I am driving and will respond when arrive at my destination”
  • Allow only the functionality provided by Android Auto and Apple Carplay whilst disabling all other functions
  • Disable voice activation button use - but instead enable “Hey Siri/ok Google” based verbal commands
  • Disable notification/ringing of inbound calls and certain other apps while in a moving car unless bluetooth or carplay/android auto enabled
  • And most importantly: Allow the above to be overridden with standard lock code (so passengers are ok to use), while warning the user "mobile phone distraction while driving is a leading cause of death and injury: are you sure you want to disable"? Also, keep a clear log of when disabled so that police can check mobile phone settings and use after an incident

So Apple and Google, will you accelerate the implementation of these and possibly other simple changes to IOS and Android to help save the lives of our teenage drivers, husband's, wife's, grandparents and friends, and all those who are injured or killed by distracted drivers? You now have us addicted to your devices - now show us you truly care about the health and wellbeing of your users.

It is such a no brainer. So please let's get this done.

yours sincerely,

The Vision Crusaders

Klaus Bartosch, Steve Dunton, Tim Wakeman and team mate and inspiration for this life saving campaign, Graham Walters #RideWithGraham

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