It is well known that texting and driving is a dangerous activity which contributes to accidents on our highways, often with devastating results. Preventing it is (or should be) a primary concern to any company which employs drivers, as well as to the parents of any teen. Leave it to the free market to provide a solution!
There are now a large number of mobile applications and devices which are designed to limit or block access to text messages while one is in or operating a motor vehicle. The modes of operation vary from app to app, as you would expect, and new ones are continually being added. I’ve provided a summary of some of the apps and a link to 12 of the leading apps below:
Employs a small device which resides in a specific vehicle which is linked to the phone to block or limit use of specific phones in that vehicle. This provides an interesting way for an employer or parent to limit messaging features of their employee/child=s phone when in a specific vehicle, without otherwise limiting use of the phone in other vehicles. More information can be found here: http://www.cellcontrol.com/
AAT&T Drive Mode@
This app is offered by AT&T for its Android & Blackberry devices. It is reported to disable incoming and outgoing calls, as well as web browsing, while the user is driving and to automatically send a customized reply to incoming texts. The company=s Afact sheet@ is available here: http://www.att.com/Common/about_us/txting_driving/att_drivemode_factsheet.pdf
Sprint=s ADrive First@
An app available for Sprint=s Android devices which is reported to automatically activate when the phone=s GPS system detects that the phone is moving at a speed of more than 10 mph. If a call or text is received when the app is triggered, an automatic reply is sent advising that the person is not available. The app does permit access to a limited number of key contacts and mobile apps, such as GPS navigation or music, while the speed trigger is active. More information can be obtained here:
This product is geared to corporate entities and fleet operations, such as trucking entities, and is reportedly designed to communicate with the fleet=s existing telematics system to automatically activate/deactivate the Asafe drive mode@ when the vehicle is being operated. More information can be obtained here: http://www.aegismobility.com/distracted‑driving/fleetsafer‑products
This product reportedly disables text usage while driving, again triggered by the speed of the device as detected by the GPS. One feature of note here to corporate safety directors and parents alike: the app will notify the designated administrator if the cell phone=s user attempts to disable or uninstall the application. A nice way to police conduct!
More information can be obtained here: http://www.textecution.com/
This is just a small sampling of the apps which are currently available to limit distracted driving due to texting and other mobile device usage patterns. A list of 12 such apps can be found here.