Many teens (and a lot of adults) are not keeping their eyes on the road and their focus on driving because they are sending or receiving text messages. This extreme form of distracted driving has caused thousands of car accidents. Sometimes those texting teens are injured or killed. Sometimes they injure pedestrians or innocent people in other vehicles.
A collection of smartphone apps seek to prevent distracted driving accidents from happening. Read on for more about these offerings, any one of which could help prevent a roadway tragedy.
Apps can turn off texting and other features
The U.S. Department of Transportation concludes that cellphone use is a primary cause or contributing factor in 1.6 million motor vehicle accidents each year, including 500,000 injuries and 6,000 deaths.
Teen drivers are already crash-prone because of inexperience. Friends in the car or a cellphone in their hand only multiply the dangers. Here is a sample of smartphone apps available to deter texting while driving and other phone distractions.
- Live2Txt (Android)
On command, this app will turn off incoming calls and text messages. It can also send a message to the individual calling or texting that the intended recipient is driving and will not attempt to contact him or her until later.
- CellControl (Android and iOS)
Here is an app that only disables the driver’s phone. Passengers in the vehicle are still able to use their devices. All you do is identify the behaviors you want to prevent ahead of time—texting, playing games, taking selfies—and CellControl is on duty.
- TextLimit (Android and iOS)
This app can predefine the features on a cell phone and keep them from happening when the vehicle is traveling above a certain speed. When the driver slows down below the assigned speed, the features will resume working.
- DriveSafe.ly (Android)
This app will intercept incoming emails and text messages and read them aloud. The driver will still get information that is important to without having to take theirs eyes off the road to look down at the phone.
- Canary (Android and iOS)
This free app does not block text or prevent cellphone use. But it does notify parents when their son or daughter texts, tweets or talks on the phone while driving. It can also monitor the car’s speed and whether the car travels outside a defined perimeter.
These are just a few of the many apps available. Some are free or downloadable for a one-time fee. Others are a monthly or yearly subscription. Laws and parental admonishments are clearly not enough to curb texting while driving. Take advantage of the technology to keep your kids safe – and everyone they share the road with.
Technology and the law
Maryland is a hands-free state. Drivers are not allowed to use handheld devices. Unfortunately, drivers – particularly young drivers – routinely ignore the laws in favor of staying connected with their friends, which often means calling, texting, surfing, Snapchatting or taking selfies while driving.
You may think it is difficult to prove that distracted driving was responsible for a car accident. However, the apps that are available for drivers are also of value to criminal defense attorneys or personal injury lawyers who will obtain the cell phone records and use the apps to confirm information that could be used in court. They will be able to learn, for example, how fast the driver was going and whether he or she was using a cell phone when the accident occurred.
To the distracted teen driver convicted of or sued for causing such a crash, modern technology is not always such a wonderful thing. More importantly, technology can help to prevent the such accidents in the first place.