Texting while driving is a dangerous practice because it takes the driver's attention away from the road. It is also referred to as "distracted driving" and is banned in 32 states. A study conducted by researchers at the University of North Texas, and reported by the "Los Angeles Times" on September 24, 2010, counted 16,141 deaths from texting while driving during the five-year period between 2002 and 2007. Even with Bluetooth technology, using your cell phone while driving is still distracted driving, and must be avoided for safety. Fortunately, there are several applications and devices available that can be used to stop texting while driving.
Textecution is an Android application aimed to restrict the user from sending text messages while driving. According to Wired, Textecution cost about $10 in 2008, and works by tapping into the phone's GPS system. If Textecution determines that the vehicle is moving over 10 mph, it disables the phone's texting capabilities. Passengers are allowed to text by requesting permission from the person who installed the application.
Text Zapper prevents texting, Web browsing or emailing any time the vehicle is moving. However, passengers are still allowed to send and receive email and texts with permission.The application ran for $4.99 a month as of 2010, and notifies you whenever your teen tries texting while driving.The parent is in total control as the application cannot be uninstalled without administrative (parental) permission. The application does not block emergency services such as 911. Text Zapper is only available for Android, Blackberry and Nokia phone models.
SafeCell works much like the other Android applications, but it adds a little incentive in the form of redeemable rewards. Rewards accrue for every mile driven and are accepted at over 300 retailers. The application blocks phone, texting and email capabilities any time the vehicle is moving over five miles per hour. Click the "Place Emergency Call button" to dial 911 in the event of an emergency. An auto text message is displayed to callers informing them that you are driving and will receive the message upon reaching your destination, making it much easier for you to ignore those incoming messages. SafeCell is available for the iPhone and Android phones and costs $11.99 retail as of 2011.
Key2SafeDriving is a wireless car key device that sends a message to the user's cell phone that disables the phone's talk and text functions. The phone will display a "stop sign" symbol and "driving mode" message to callers. The device installs in the vehicle under the steering wheel mount and redirects incoming calls to voice mail. The driver is still free to use hands-free calling unless in an area where it is prohibited.
DriveSafe.ly is a free mobile application that uses iSpeech text-to-speech technology to read incoming text and email messages. There is a free version and a Pro version for a fee. You can listen to incoming messages without ever looking at your phone. This application does not block incoming or outgoing texts or emails, but provides a way to receive messages in a safe manner. This is helpful for those who receive a lot of email alerts.
- SmartPhoneSue.com: Text Zapper app stops texting and driving
- NewsWise: Car Key Jams Teen Drivers' Cell Phones and Texting
- WalletPop: SafeCell App Rewards Good Drivers, Stops Texting While Driving
- Los Angeles Times: Researchers calculate the death toll from texting while driving
- Gadget Lab: Textecution Stops Texting Above 10mph
- BlackBerry Download Freeware: DriveSafe.ly
- Photo Credit Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
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