Be Smart: Apps to Stop Texting and Driving

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It's not rocket science: Texting while driving is dumb, not to mention dangerous. Yet we still do it, especially teenagers who as new drivers should be taking extra precautions. According to an AT&T commuter survey, 49 percent of commuters admitted to texting while driving. But the statistics don't lie. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute Research says that those who text and drive are 23 times more likely to be in a crash. Apparently the temptation to constantly be in touch with loved ones outweighs the desire to stay safe.

But even cellphone carriers have banded together to stop texting and driving, all uniting behind AT&T's "It Can Wait" campaign. All of the Big Four carriers are backing the multi-million dollar campaign, all the while acknowledging that the products they put out can indeed be dangerous. Plus, three out of the Big Four have their own apps to curb texting while driving. (T-Mobile did have its own app, DriveSmart, but it discontinued. A T-Mobile spokesperson said, "DriveSmart was a great idea, but we found there were others in the software developer ecosystem who were offering better solutions that we could.")

Luckily there are a slew of apps out there to make it easier for you to avoid texting while driving. However, it's worth noting that only one of these apps is supported in Apple's App Store, so parents may want to reconsider getting their newly driving teenager an iPhone. From safety apps by carriers to apps that let you respond to texts using voice to apps that block your phone from receiving messages while your car is in motion, these apps protect you from yourself.

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Molly Klinefelter, LAPTOP Assistant Editor
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Molly Klinefelter, LAPTOP Assistant Editor on
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  • Erik Wood Says:

    Text and Drive recently became the #1 killer of teens in the US - more lethal than drunk driving. I think its starting to become clear that legislation has value in raising public awareness in forums like this one but it will be difficult to solely legislate our way out of this issue. I also read that over 3/4 of teens text daily - many text more than 4000 times a month. New college students no longer have email addresses! They use texting and Facebook - even with their professors. Tweens (ages 9 -12) send texts to each other from their bikes.

    I decided to do something about distracted driving after my three year old daughter was nearly run down right in front of me by a texting driver. Instead of a shackle that locks down phones and alienates the user, I built a texting asset called OTTER that is a simple and intuitive GPS based, texting auto reply app for smartphones. While driving, OTTER silences those distracting call ringtones and chimes unless a bluetooth is enabled. The texting auto reply allows anyone to schedule a ‘texting blackout period’ in any situation like a meeting or a lecture without feeling disconnected. This software is a social messaging tool for the end user that also empowers this same individual to be a sustainably safer driver.

    Erik Wood, owner
    OTTER app (Free. Since 2010)
    do one thing well... be great.

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