Aichi Prefecture, in Japan, has an extremely high rate of car accidents. In 2015 alone, 44,369 people were injured or killed by car accidents, and 50,101 people were arrested on the basis of using a smartphone while driving. This has made the prefecture the worst in Japan, and as a result a number of companies have gotten together to launch an initiative: "AICHI: No Longer the Worst". Toyota will be launching their own campaign this month in conjunction with the Japanese government's 2016 Autumn Traffic Safety Campaign.
One of the first parts of this initiative is a smartphone application, developed in conjunction with Toyota, Komeda, and KDDI. In simple terms, the application is aimed at getting drivers to stop using their smartphones while driving in an effort to reduce these road accidents. Driving Barista, as it is known, uses both the gyroscope and GPS functionality of a user's smartphone. Users must place their phones face down on a flat surface while they drive, and if they don't flip the phone back up while on the move they will be rewarded with coffee.
It goes without saying that the application only works within Aichi, and that if the driver touches the phon while on the move they will lose their accumulated kilometres. Komeda is the company providing the free coffee, with coupons being exchangable for a cup of blended coffee or an iced coffee at any of the chain's shops. It's a good idea and initiative, although the coupons are provided after the first 100 kilometres, and every 200 kilometres of driving after that. It's quite an extreme distance for what is essentially city driving, but it's still better than no initiative at all.
Will the program work in actually bringing fatalities down to zero? Perhaps, although it really depends on how much the people of Aichi value their coffee. In many cases, smartphone use while driving is driven for a variety of reasons- and coffee alone may not be enough to put an end to this. Integration of these features with the car's onboard multimedia system would be a much more effective idea in keeping a driver's hands on the wheel.