We’ve posted several times before about the dangers of distracted driving. The statistics surrounding distracted driving are scary:
- Texting drivers are more than 23 times more likely to crash
- A driver looks away from the road an average of 4.6 seconds when sending or reading a text—equal to driving the length of a football field (at 55mph) blind
- In 2010, 18% of crashes resulting in injuries had distracted driving as a contributor to the crash
- The rate of injuries and deaths from distracted driving is going up, from 3,267 killed and 387,000 injured in 2010 to 3,331 killed and 416,000 injured in 2011
We all know that talking on the phone, texting, emailing, and surfing the web become dangerous activities when done behind the wheel. But both teens and adults still do them.
Now, several new smartphone apps aim to curb this potentially deadly habit. A recent article on All Things Digital [this website no longer exists] reviewed the latest apps.
Text-Star by Cinqpoint, a free app, sends an automatic response to any texts that you receive when driving over 10 miles per hour. You can pre-program the app to send a certain message, like “Driving right now—talk to you later.” The reviewer reported that, when testing the app, her phone beeped to let her know that a message had been received, then sent the automatic text. The app is available only for Android phones.
The reviewer noted at least one drawback to this app: there is nothing preventing a driver from sending or reading a text message. For many, the beep of their phone notifying them of a new text message can be enough of a temptation to pick up their phone and read the message.
DriveScribe, which has both free and paid options, blocks texts and incoming calls when the car is going above 12 miles per hour. Like Text-Star, it also has the ability to automatically send a response. Once the car is stopped, the texts and calls appear. The app is available for Android and iOS.
One possible drawback to this app is that it gives drivers the ability to allow certain numbers to go through even while driving, essentially defeating the purpose of the app.
The last app reviewed, DriveSafe.ly, reads text messages out loud and replies automatically. Currently, it is available for Android phones, with a Blackberry version soon to come. The app’s Pro version allows drivers to respond to the text by voice.
The reviewer noted that having the message read aloud increased her temptation to respond, in comparison with the previous apps. Additionally, she stated that it might be nearly as distracting to respond to a text by voice as by typing.
Distracted driving is dangerous for you and everyone around you. We remind everyone to stay safe by practicing responsible driving behaviors. If you or someone you know need help kicking the texting and driving habit, consider turning the phone off before driving or installing an app like the ones above.