When truck companies started slapping the "how's my driving?" bumper stickers onto their trucks, they were onto something: driving safety should increase if drivers can report bad behavior on the road.
Now we have the DriveMeCrazy iPhone app, which brings the bumper sticker concept to your smartphone. You speak the bad driver's license plate number into the smartphone. This will flag the bad driver and issue a virtual ticket. It will include information such as date, time, and location, along with the offender's license plate number.
While a virtual ticket may seem harmless, it's not. That ticket will be sent to both the appropriate state's DMV and insurance companies. Anyone with the app can write a ticket, so it does not need to be a driver. Worse yet, even if you don't have the app, you cannot opt out. You can be reported by anyone, at any time.
The possibilities and implications are endless. We could see an insurance company eventually purchasing its app for the database of information and users. Currently, insurance companies buy driving records. If they had people reporting bad driving behavior to them, they would have the information directly.
As for privacy issues, "People think they can do bad things on the road because they think they can get away with it,” Said app creator Philip Inghelbrecht. “I believe that driving is one of the most public acts that you could ever do. One small mistake can impact the lives of those around you."
Inghelbrecht compared the app to the government encouraging people to call in possible possible drunk drivers. We are not so sure that this direct comparison can be made. A driver going faster than the person who reports then, may not pose the same hazard as someone drinking and driving.
While this app might prevent some unsafe driving behavior, is the end of anonymity on the road really a good thing? Will this really help highway safety? Both of these questions are highly debatable. Drop your thoughts into the comments below.
The DriveMeCrazy app is now available for free in the iTunes App Store