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Technologies designed to mitigate distracted driving are perceived to be a solution that holds great potential to reduce and prevent collisions. 

In the past five years, a wide range of technologies have emerged, including advanced driver assistance systems, fleet management or driver monitoring systems, in-vehicle systems to manage navigation, communication and entertainment technologies, telematics devices that provide feedback to drivers, and phone applications.

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The functionality of these devices is quite variable and different levels of driver engagement may be required for their use. The marketing of these technologies has also been inconsistent. While some manufacturers have emphasized safety aspects, other manufacturers have reinforced, perhaps inadvertently, the misperception that these technologies allow drivers to be less attentive while driving.

In order to increase understanding of these technologies and their role in reducing distracted driving, it is important that users are able to critically assess the objective or purpose of technologies, their limitations, and the potential benefits or value offered by them. It is equally important that users recognize potential unintended negative consequences that can occur when technologies are used improperly, or in ways they were not intended to be used.

To aid in assessments to determine the impact of new technologies on distraction among drivers, a framework is needed to clearly define key questions that should be asked as part of any assessment of technologies designed to reduce distracted driving. Such a framework is also helpful to identify the most viable technologies and facilitate comparisons between them as well as evaluations of them. Answers to these questions can inform decisions related to the most appropriate and effective strategies to implement these technologies and promote their widespread use.

The Canadian Coalition on Distracted Driving (CCDD) developed a “Distracted Driving Technology Framework” at the 3rd Annual Meeting of the CCDD held in Toronto on May 8 & 9, 2018.

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