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One of the leading causes of traffic accidents and collisions today is without a doubt smartphone-related incidents. People like to stay connected to the outside world at all times, even behind the wheel – even when they know how dangerous that is. Several automotive manufacturers and other companies around the globe are working to remedy this situation, and Toyota recently teamed up with Komeda Co., Ltd. And KDDI Corporation to create the Driving Barista Application.

[ READ MORE: Other Toyota Technology Concepts ]

The Driving Barista smartphone app was designed to encourage not using your smartphone while behind the wheel, by combining the technology of a gyroscopic sensor with GPS’s mileage tracker. Driving Barista is able to tell when your smartphone is lying face down and then tracks your driving distance for 100 kilometres. Once the tracker hits the target, you get a coupon for a cup of blended or iced coffee at a local coffee shop.

The catch, at this point, is that it has only been rolled out as a test in one area in Japan, the Aichi Prefecture. The app can only be installed within the confines of the city, and the coupons are for the Komeda Coffee Shop there in town. We’re hoping that the project turns out as a success and that the idea gets rolled out more worldwide to help decrease this global pandemic.

Why Aichi Prefecture, Japan?

To give you a bit of background, there was a reason that Aichi Prefecture was chosen as the test location for Driving Barista. For the past thirteen years, it has had more traffic fatalities than any other city in Japan. In 2015, 44,369 collisions or accidents led to a serious injury or death in the city, and 50,101 people were arrested for utilizing a smartphone while operating a motor vehicle. While this is a particularly astonishing example, this is a reflection on the issue across the globe, and we’re happy to hear that Toyota is working to correct it.

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