MELBOURNE, FLA.—“People who use cell phones while driving can be dangerous,” said Ayuba Audu, a member of a Florida Institute of Technology student team that has taken on a project in support of Hang Up’ ‘N Drive. The Space Coast non-profit organization, Hang Up ‘N Drive, established to prevent cell phone-related road accidents, is gaining momentum, in part from drawing supporters like Audu.
The two-member team of software engineering student Audu and computer science major Abdulla Al-Salem, who are planning to earn their degrees this May, is creating a Hang Up ‘N Drive software platform/memorial wall for a culminating project. Head of the Florida Tech Department of Computer Science William Shoaff is the team’s adviser; Information Technology staff members are also helping the team.
The project, a mobile virtual memorial wall and information site, is intended to raise awareness, provide education and address the growing number of accidents related to cell phone use and texting while driving. Audu and Al-Salem target the end of February for completion of their prototype.
“We want to promote better driving safety habits by increasing public awareness of the dangers of using mobile phones while driving,” said Audu. “We are designing a visually engaging and immersive experience with true stories, accessible via the Web. The interface will be fully functional via regular desktop browsers and touch-friendly for devices that support such functionality. We are making it handicapped-accessible.”
The platform is also intended to support charitable initiatives to channel funds to individuals and families who have been affected by vehicle crashes associated with talking or texting on cell phones.
The Hang Up ‘N Drive campaign was initiated by Melbourne chiropractor Mitchell Greenberg, who in his practice is seeing an increasing number of patients debilitated by cell phone-related driving accidents.
“This has become my mission,” he said. “I want to help put an end to the senseless injuries and deaths that increasingly occur because of these accidents. Education is key and that is our objective.”
According to the Harvard Center of Risk Analysis, cell phone use contributes to an estimated six percent of all crashes, which equates to 636,000 crashes, 330,000 injuries, 12,000 serious injuries and 2,600 deaths each year. The same organization reports that the annual cost of crashes caused by cell phone use is estimated to be $43 billion.
The Florida Tech team will display and demonstrate its project at the university’s annual Northrop Grumman Design Showcase, which will be held on April 20 on campus in the Clemente Center for Sports and Recreation.
Greenberg asks people to contact him with their story or that of a family member who had a life changing injury or if there was a death due to a crash caused by a cell phone. These personal stories will be part of the virtual memorial wall. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Hang Up ‘N Drive, visit: www.hangupndrive.com.