Fed Up With Bad Drivers? There's an App for That
CNBC Auto and Airline Industry Reporter
You do it.
I do it.
We all do it.
At some point, and for some of us it's more often than we like, we get fed up with the guy driving in front of us who cut us off, goes too slow, or simply drives like an idiot. While we're all supposed to stay cool, not scream, honk, or, give the other guy a one finger salute. But that is easier said than done. Now, there are new smart phone apps that let you sound off on bad drivers.
"Drivemecrazy" and "Fail Driver" are two apps you can download for free so you can "ticket" those who need to get a clue on the road. Since launching late last year, both apps have recorded thousands of complaints about distracted driving, people running red lights, and drivers littering on the highway. Yes, they've also had some folks send in compliments for people driving good behind the wheel, but for the most part, the apps are about blasting bad drivers.
Here's how they work.
When someone cuts you off or you see them driving poorly, you hit the "drivemecrazy" or "fail driver" apps, record the license plate number of the offending car/truck and then lodge your complaint.
Later you can write up a "ticket" that will go in the system.
Philip Inghelbrecht, who created the drivemecrazy app has recorded more then 20,000 tickets from fed up drivers around the country. In fact, he tweets some of the best ones every day, and I've heard some interesting complaints. He hopes the app will eventually lead to safer roads since people won't want to get called out publicly, much as fleet truck drivers are on notice with 1-800 numbers asking how they are driving.
I spent a day driving with Philip in San Francisco and while I see the allure of his app and I applaud his goal of safer roads, I question how much it will help. Here's why. If you drive like a fool, you only find out if you've been "ticketed" if you and your license plate are in the system. If you aren't in the system, you never hear the complaints and even if you do get "ticketed" there's a question of how much it will truly change how you drive.
When I've brought up these aggressive driving apps to friends and colleagues, nearly everyone says the same thing: why take time to record a complaint when I can just honk my horn or yell at the other guy? The fact is, when it comes to our driving, nobody wants to admit they are sometimes bad behind the wheel and unless we get a real ticket or, God forbid, into an accident, most of us don't change how we drive. Would that change simply by getting a "citizen citation"? Maybe, but I'm not sure.
Either way, this is the new way to sound off behind the wheel.
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