Today, one in every four car accidents is caused by cell phone use of some kind, so it makes sense Maryland has banned the use of mobile devices while behind the wheel of a car since 2013. But now a very popular cellphone app has made it okay for new drivers to use their phones — in the interest of studying for their upcoming road test, that is.
The MD Practice Driving Test App, developed by the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Administration, is a new kind of practice guide for tech-savvy residents who need some help preparing for their license permit exams.
The app makes studying a bit more accessible and a little less intimidating, offering a random series of 25 questions users might be asked on their test. Practice test takers can view questions in either Spanish or English, with topics that range from speed, alcohol use while driving, determining the right of way, and more. Users are then referred to the state’s correlating driver’s manual to find out more about certain topics.
According to the MVA’s website, users can take the test to prepare for their learner’s permit exam or utilize it as a refresher course to “stay sharp and up-to-date on basic driver safety.” So far, the app has been downloaded more than 1 million times.
Chrissy Nzier, administrator at the MMVA, noted to Herald-Mail Media, “We’re trying to provide as much information as possible for folks taking our driver’s test. We’ve always had our driver’s manual out there, and we wanted to use technology to help people practice taking the test.”
The free app, which was first developed back in 2011, recently won a Horizon Interactive Award for its outstanding contributions to interactive media. Users can take and retake the test as many times as they’d like until they feel prepared for their test and to operate a vehicle.
“We want people to be successful when they come to us ready to take the test,” explained Nzier. “Technology continues to evolve, and we wanted to help people navigate a test that can be a little intimidating.”
While there are approximately 6 million car accidents in the U.S. every year, the developers are hoping that by utilizing technology in this way — to help residents learn how to drive, rather than keeping them from doing so safely — they’ll be able to bridge the gap and drive home the importance of driver preparedness for gadget lovers.