Cell phone apps eliminate texting and driving

Posted on behalf of Stewart Bell, PLLC on Sep 24, 2011 in Car Accidents

West Virginia's winding roads require a driver's full attention. Law enforcement officials -- and parents -- know all too well that distracted driving can lead to a car accident . While the list of things that can distract a driver is long, text messaging and talking on a cell phone rank highly.

However, technology is no longer just a hindrance to drivers. As companies work hard to expand the capabilities of cell phone applications, AT&T and Sprint have developed apps that aim to cut down on distracted driving.

The downloadable software deactivates text messaging and incoming calls while in a moving car. The objective is to eliminate the two things that are most likely to shift a driver's attention away from the road. So far, the app is available on just Sprint Android phones and AT&T Blackberries.

The application kicks in when the car reaches a certain speed. With the application developed by AT&T, the user has to activate the feature, while Sprint's version automatically activates when the car moves faster than 10 miles per hour.

Users can give "permission" for up to five phone numbers to ring through as incoming calls; they can always call 911. Sprint's app will activate even for a passenger's cell phone; the user must deactivate the feature to be able to receive calls or texts.

Sprint also included a special parental feature that notifies a parent or guardian when their teen driver has deactivated the feature. It is up to the teen to convince the parent he or she is just a passenger; it is up to the parent to believe the teen.

The phone companies and safety experts agree that the key for parents is to communicate about communication. Teens need to know the rules, and they need to see their parents (or guardians) modeling those rules.

Both companies are working to bring these, or similar, applications to a wider line of cell phones.

Source: WANE.com, "App takes temptation out of texting while driving," Sept. 17, 2011

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