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Driving Barista app aims to prevent smartphone related road accidents

28 September 2016

A new smartphone application called Driving Barista is being utilised in Japan to help prevent drivers from using their smartphones while driving, in the hope of reducing accidents.

For thirteen consecutive years Aichi, a Japanese prefecture on Honshu Island, has had the highest rate of traffic fatalities in Japan. In 2015 alone, there were 44 369 traffic accidents, according to local police, which resulted in injuries or deaths. There were also over 50 000 arrests involving the use of smartphones while driving, and the increase in violations of this nature has also intensified the problem.

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), Komeda Co., Ltd. (Komeda), and KDDI Corporation (KDDI) began an initiative on 20 September 2016that aims to reduce the number of traffic accidents in the Aichi Prefecture.

In response, ten media companies based in Aichi’s capital city, Nagoya, have come together to work towards the goal of making the prefecture’s roads safer under the banner of the AICHI: No Longer the Worst project. Toyota and KDDI are also sponsors of this project.

Currently, the Driving Barista app can only be used within the Aichi Prefecture. The app makes use of the smartphone’s gyro sensor to sense the tilt of the phone’s body, and the GPS to determine the distance driven. It measures the distance the driver has driven while leaving the smartphone facedown. When the cumulative distance reaches 100 km, the driver can receives a coupon for a cup of blended or iced coffee at a Komeda Coffee Shop.

According to one survey, approximately 60% of respondents said they use their smartphones while driving, with approximately half of them keeping only one hand on the steering wheel.

The Director-in-charge of CSR and Environment at KDDI, Akira Dobashi, stated, “We developed the Driving Barista smartphone application as a fun way to help prevent traffic accidents. We hope to contribute to accident prevention by providing a new experience for drivers.”

“South Africa has one of the world’s highest road accident rates with around 25% of these accidents cause by drivers using their cellphones while driving. South Africa is experiencing an increase in accidents caused by using your cellphone while driving resulting in a major economic impact on the country’s GDP. Apps like Driving Barista will assist in reducing road accidents caused by cellphones dramatically, which will not only make our roads safer but will reduce the impact on the economy. Driving Barista is currently in the pilot stage but we hope that similar apps will make their way to South Africa soon,” said Glenn Crompton, Vice President of Marketing at Toyota South Africa Motors.