Every August, the UK sees the start of National Road Victim Month. Created as a chance to remember those who have lost their lives or been injured as a result of serious road traffic collisions (RTC), it also serves to help promote and raise awareness for road safety in general.
Though official figures suggest a decrease in reported road traffic casualties up to September 2017, the danger is still very real, for drivers, and other road users alike. But while National Road Victim Month happens every year, the month of August is significant as it’s the time of year that sees an increase in RTCs.
Traditionally, as the school summer holidays get underway, August sees an increase in children on or near roads. Youthful exuberance might see road safety temporarily suspended, causing danger for drivers as well as themselves. And, with more traffic on the road as people go off on holiday, there are many different dangers to be aware of besides children.
But it’s not just August where road safety and awareness should be at the forefront of our minds. Awareness every time we set out in the car is crucial when it comes to the safety of other road users. And in today’s instant digital world, there’s one distraction above all others that’s a leading cause of an RTC - the mobile phone.
While smartphones are hugely beneficial to every aspect of our everyday lives, using them while driving is illegal. So immediately engaging with any notification we receive might be a 21st Century natural reaction, but it’s both distracting and dangerous.
That’s why we’re particularly pleased to hear about Kruzr. An easy to use smartphone app that aims to be your hands-free driving assistant. Automatically detecting when the car is in use, it takes care of any calls and messages that come in while you’re on the road.
Developed by an India-based team of self-styled problem solvers, technologists, and designers, Kruzr is designed to use your phone’s tech to take control. It relies on the inbuilt gyroscope, as well as some of the basic motion sensors, pattern recognition, and machine learning to automatically activate and pick up messages as soon as you start driving.
Kruzr | iOS: Coming Soon | Android: £free
Decreasing driver distraction
Going directly into ‘Drive’ mode, Kruzr gives you access to only a handful of your phone's features. This gives you control of features you might need such as music and sat nav functions, as well as allowing you to view any missed call or message info. Where the app gets really smart is when you receive a call while you’re driving - you won’t know anything about it, but Kruzr will.
Making full use of the app’s tech, when someone calls you, Kruzr will answer, giving your caller an instant response telling them you’re driving. If that call is important, the caller has an option to dial ‘1’ to get through to you and you’ll be notified as soon as your car stops next.
Similarly, when you receive any SMS, WhatsApp, or Facebook notification, Kruzr’s band of chatbots will interact with the sender, and tell them you’re driving. But their messages are recorded and Kruzr will again notify you when your car next comes to a standstill.
By only allowing the most important calls or messages to filter through, Kruzr ensures there’s a dramatic decrease in driver distraction, helping maintain safety and awareness all along the journey. The team behind Kruzr are still working hard to enhance additional features available on a paid subscription basis, such as premium call handling, but they’re also working on another main feature - crash detection.
Still in the early stages of development, Kruzr is able to detect massive changes in its environment in the event of crash. If the phone is still in working order after the event, Kruzr will notify the emergency services. Naturally this function requires a huge amount of testing before going live, so we may not see it for some time.
Recommended for every journey
While Kruzr, the company, has been around since 2016, their Kruzr freemium app has only been available since late 2017 for Android smartphones. While there’s no version for the Apple App Store as yet, the Kruzr team are working on this, so iPhone users will have to rely on Apple’s own Do Not Disturb feature for the time being.
Overall, Kruzr is a solid app that takes care of all your distractions while you concentrate on a safe drive, and is highly recommended, not just for National Road Victim month, but for every journey.
Have you used Kruzr? Let us know what you think.