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New app warns of driver distraction from mobile devices

The app has been developed by a research team from the University of Jyväskylä in Finland, as reported by the Helskinki Times, and follows the recent publication of a study by the Finnish Road Safety Council revealing that more than half of Finns use their mobile phones while on the road. Up to a third of drivers also admit to texting behind the wheel.

‘We wanted to find a technical solution for a problem that legislative measures, such as the use of hands-free devices or bans on smartphones, have not been able to solve,’ researcher Tuomo Kujala from Jyväskylä University’s Department of Mathematical Information Technology told the Helksinki Times.

‘Studies have shown that a lapse in concentration may play a role in up to 80% of road accidents and mobile devices, particularly phones, are the main cause of distraction in traffic.’

Dubbed VisGuard, the app has been a year in development and collects data to automatically identify situations where the driver is using a mobile device while driving a vehicle. The driver is then alerted through a warning triangle image.

It can also warn drivers on location and environment, for example a forthcoming tight bend in the road.

The publication adds that the research team are looking to develop a free version of the app that would be available in the autumn. Currently, the app runs on Android phones.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.