Can't Stop Texting While Driving? There's an App for That

Categories: Tech
textingwhiledriving.jpg
If there were just an app to stop THIS.
There's hardly a more unnecessary death than being run over by a busy driver who was texting "Where u at?" to a friend.

That's why a construction debris hauler in Concord has created an app that lets parents or employers disable their kids' and workers' ability to text message while behind the wheel.

Like curfews and chaperones, there's no doubt that Text Stop will piss off social teens everywhere. But that's too bad. Here is how it works: GPS will detect when the phone is moving at a speed faster than 10 miles per hour; at that point, the phone will disable its texting mechanism.
The app is now available on the Android market for $19.95, and will be available for iPhones within the next month.   

Texting while driving is illegal in California, but that doesn't mean people aren't still doing it. A study from University of North Texas Health Science Center estimated that texting while driving caused more than 16,000 deaths -- or the size of a small town -- between 2001 and 2007.

"I drove trucks in the Army and was a colonel's chauffeur, and drove cabs in San Francisco when I was 25," Sam Nimer told SF Weekly. "I drove for Muni. I'm as professional a driver as you'll find, and I myself have almost been in accidents texting. A new driver has no chance: They're going to hurt themselves or they're going to hurt someone else."

And don't think you can outsmart the app. Nimer says only the administrator (i.e., a parent or employer) can text a command to the phone to deactivate the Text Stop. That means parents will have to trust their kids when they say they are simply passengers in a car or on public transit.

Nimer plans to add a feature to the app that will allow the user to talk on the phone via Bluetooth while a vehicle is moving faster than 10 mph. 

Or you could just do the world a favor and turn off your phone until you arrive at your destination.

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Jeff @ Dead Tree Media
Jeff @ Dead Tree Media

What keeps the kid from just deleting the app from his phone?  I think the guy has his head and heart in the right place; technology created this issue and technology should help get us out of it, but I'm not sure if the target audience would put up with it for very long.  Kids are smart as hell these days and apps can be deleted and re-installed when needed.

Frankly, I think we need to come up with more apps that handle the tasks behind the reasons why we text while driving in the first place.  For instance, take the new navigation app, Onmaway (http://OnmawayApp.com), it allows users to send a special tracking URL to their friends and family so the receivers can follow their movements on a map rather than constantly asking where they are. Brilliant, simple stuff.

Richard H
Richard H

The Android version of turn-by-turn navigation is the bomb. Phones still have a need to be on in cars.

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