We tell our kids that's it dangerous. We've seen and heard the news stories. Probably have shed a few tears empathizing with families going through this but it still seems very prevalent - texting while driving.
I'm sad to admit this, but I I'm guilty.
Here are some staggering text messaging facts:
* There are 100,000+ accidents a year that cause injury or death that are a result of a driver texting.
* Motorists who are texting while driving are 23 times more likely to get in an accident.
* 75% of teens say texting and driving is common amongst their friends.
* Cell phone use while driving increases reaction time by the same amount as having a blood-alcohol concentration of .08 percent, according to University of Utah researchers.
* Nearly nine out of 10 Americans think texting while driving should be outlawed. But two-thirds of adults admit that they’ve done it, according to a Harris Interactive survey.
* Text messaging results in the driver’s eyes being off the road for 4.6 of every 6 seconds. That’s as much time as it takes to travel the length of a football field at 55 miles per hour (MPH), according to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.
And due to these staggering figures, and with just about everyone having a phone with the capability of texting, states have enacted rules to save us from ourselves.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association,10 states, D.C., Guam and the Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from using handheld cell phones while driving. Except for Maryland and West Virginia (until July 2013), all laws are primary enforcement — an officer may cite a driver for using a handheld cell phone without any other traffic offense taking place.
No state bans all cell phone use for all drivers, but many prohibit use by certain subsets. 32 states and D.C. ban all cell phone use by novice drivers. School bus drivers in 19 states and D.C. may not use a cell phone when passengers are present. 39 states, D.C., Guam and the Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers. An additional 5 states prohibit text messaging by novice drivers and 3 states restrict school bus drivers from texting.
In order to safeguard kids from the beauty of technology, many companies are creating SmartPhone apps. Check them out for your particular operating platform. We'd love to hear from actual users.
ShoutOut, iPhone ($1) This iPhone app dictates your speech to a text message, then sends it along to your chosen recipient. This app comes with a per-text cost though, with 50 voice-to-text messages costing $2, and 250 voice texts setting you back $5.
TextPilot, iPhone (.99c) This iPhone app that helps deter users from texting and driving along with providing them with groundbreaking support in emergency situations.
On the Move, Android (Free)
Developed to deter avid texters from checking their screens while driving. Acting as an auto-reply tool when you receive a message, On the Move tells the texter that you're driving with a customized alert.
Otter, Android ($4)
Not only does Otter send auto replies to texters when you're on the road, but you can also build custom quick responses, so you don't waste time fumbling to text back on your small virtual or QWERTY keyboard.
Textecution, Android ($29.99 one-time charge)
This cuts off texting ability if the device is moving faster than 10 MPH. If a passenger is using the device, he or she may request an override. That request must be allowed by a Textecution “administrator,” such as a parent or employer (notified by text that the request is pending). If the user tries to remove Textecution, the administrator also gets a heads-up.
Drive First App, ($2/month)
Available for $2 a month in the third half of 2011, the app will lock up your phone while driving and route all calls to voicemail. Additionally, it will block all text message alerts and send an auto response saying the driver is unavailable, but still give you access to three main contacts, three apps, and GPS.
DriveMode, Android/iPhone/Blackberry (Free)
Available for Android, BlackBerry and iPhone, this app automatically sends a customized reply to incoming texts, just like an “out-of-office” autoreply. It also disables all ingoing and outgoing calls and Web browsing. Users manually enable the app before driving, though, so participation is strictly voluntary.
tXtBlocker, Multiple platforms ($6.99 monthly for a single user)
Compatible with a wide range of smartphones, this app allows users to customize the locations and times of day—such as routine commuting or driving times—when texts and phone calls aren’t accepted.
DriveSafe.ly, Blackberry/iPhone/Android/Windows($3.99/month or $13.95/year for a single user)
Instead of shutting down communications entirely, this app reads text messages and emails out loud in real time, including shortcuts like LOL, and sends an autoresponse. You can even pick whether to have texts read to you with a male or female voice, or based upon the gender of the text sender.