The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) added distracted driving to its 2013 “most wanted list,” and 35 states have passed laws banning cellphone use while driving. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 16 percent of all distracted driving crashes involve drivers under the age of 20.
New Apps for Safer Teen Drivers
Developers have made apps for both iOS and Android devices to help parents prevent their kids from texting while driving. Some of the apps put a lock on the texting function, while others put the phone in airplane mode, to prevent it from beeping when a text comes in. Shown below are a few of these devices.
This Android app by car insurance company Esure shuts off other apps and stops incoming calls and text messages when a car is traveling at more than 10 mph.
This free app from AT&T, for Android and Blackberry devices, automatically launches once the car is moving at more than 25 mph. It responds to incoming texts and emails with a voicemail message letting the sender know the recipient is driving and will get back to them soon.
This password-protected system, available for Android devices, requires installation of a hardware device into the car. It detects when someone enters a car and temporarily disables text messaging, email and Internet access while the vehicle is moving, although it still allows the driver to make and receive calls and use the GPS mapping functions.
DriveScribe monitors the driver’s speed and blocks text messages and calls while the car is in motion. The driver must tap “start trip” before driving and “end trip” when reaching a destination. The app will tell drivers when to slow down when driving too fast. For even more control, the device provides a report that tells parents if the driver has exceeded speed limits or run stop signs.
Canary, available for iOS and Android devices, lets parents see their child’s cellphone use in real time when driving more than 12 mph. It records when the cellphone was used and evens sends a message to parents when a teen drives into an off-limits area, and alerts parents if their teen disables the device.
Ford Motor Company’s MyKey technology, when paired with its Sync technology, blocks incoming calls and text messages.
With this device, the phone must remain locked in a dock before a driver can start the engine. After that, the driver can only use the phone with Bluetooth. However, to get around it, the driver could place a phone in the dock, to enable the car to start, and then use another phone to talk and text.
Text Blocking Devices in Company Cars
Going beyond teen use, these devices may also be installed in company vehicles to monitor drivers and prevent employees from phoning and texting while driving.