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Safe Alternatives to Texting While Driving

by Suzanne Kantra on August 18, 2011

We all know we shouldn't be using our mobile devices on the road. But despite reports of people being killed and laws being passed in more than half of U.S. states that prohibit some or all cellphone usage while driving, we're still talking and texting. According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), 40 percent of drivers reported they use their cell phone while driving at least a few times per week, and 19 percent talk daily. As a result, 22 percent of car accidents in 2009 were caused by cell phone usage.

Since we can't seem to stop ourselves from potentially fatal auto-multitasking, there are several apps to help curb our deadly car-texting and phoning. These solutions come in three basic types:

  1. Dial-In Service
    You phone into a text-to-speech/speech-to-text subscription service, which reads you your emails and lets you compose responses—all through voice command.
  2. Cell Phone Applications
    Apps such as T-Mobile's DriveSmart Plus and Key2SafeDriving sense when you’re driving, usually by GPS measuring your speed, and disable most or all of your phone's functionality once a pre-determined speed is reached. All offer some sort of emergency override and passenger-usage exceptions, and some include Web-based cellphone-use monitoring.
  3. Combination Hardware/Apps
    Instead of relying on GPS to sense car usage, a small module gets attached to a part of your car such as the emergency brake or the OBD (on-board diagnostics) module. Once the module is triggered by car usage, a signal disables your phone. Another set of solutions uses a Bluetooth module to enable all-voice and text-to-speech capabilities.



Phones and Mobile, Phone Accessories, Cell Phones, Mobile Apps, Android Apps, BlackBerry Apps, iPhone/iPad Apps, Travel & Entertainment, Car Tech & Safety, Tips & How-Tos

Email and Texting Solutions
 Name Type App
Hardware (HW)
Software (SW)
Trigger Subscription Price
cellcontrol disables/monitors App/HW/SW Blackberry
speed yes $25, plus
Key2SafeDriving disables/monitors App/HW Android
ignition no $99.95
StopTxting disables App Android speed no free
Dial2Do read/compose service n/a dial-in yes $5.99/m or
$59.99/year read/compose App Blackberry
none no $3.99/m or $13.95/year
iLane read/compose App/HW Blackberry none no $149, plus $9.99/m or $110/year
Sprint Drive First disables App Android speed yes $2/m per line, available fall 2011
T-Mobile DriveSmart Plus disables App Android speed yes $4.99/m for all lines
Vlingo read/compose App Blackberry
none  no Blackberry: $19.99
Android: $9.99
iPhone: $9.99
Voice on the Go  read/compose service iPhone
dial-in yes $4.99/m or


Discussion loading


From Rich Moser on August 18, 2011 :: 5:58 pm

Just one comment, and I feel very strongly about it: 

If you text or use your cell while you’re driving and someone ends up dying, then you’re almost the same as the drunk driver who kills someone. Except the drunk isn’t fully aware of what he’s doing while he’s driving. You are.



From Peter Grusso on March 27, 2014 :: 8:57 am

These apps/services are good, but why is origosafe not listed? the mother of a kid on my son’s soccer team put origosafe in her son’s volvo - it makes it so he has to put his phone in a dock before he can start his car. I think he can still use bluetooth, as long as he doesn’t pull the phone out. Seems to work for them, just saying.


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