Texting while driving has become such a problem that it has brought about new legislation in various states. Many accidents are caused by someone attempting to “multitask.” I think I speak for the majority when I ask everyone to just put down their phone for a bit and focus on driving. But, just in case you can’t heed my advice due to your emotional connection to that iPhone, here are a few alternatives:
Dial2Do’s Hands-Free Assistant
This app is your standard voice-to-text alternative that keeps your cell phone handy while still safely away from your text-hungry thumbs. Much like the software used on computers to dictate emails and reports, Hands-Free Assistant uses your voice to respond to texts and emails, create memos, and even update Twitter and Facebook. The addition of features like voiced Twitter updates is a bit much, but as long as it keeps your eyes on the road, Dial2Do’s app is a welcomed step in the right direction. Unfortunately, that step will cost you about $59.99 per year. A cheaper solution is iSpeech’s acclaimed Drivesafe.ly. Requiring a $13.95 subscription, it provides much of the same functionality at more than half the cost.
Key2safedriving from Safe Driving Systems
While voice-texting is an alternative that’s been around for quite some time, auto-disable apps are a more interesting solution. Interesting isn’t necessarily ideal, but it’s pretty tech-savvy in its concept. Key2safedriving from Safe Driving Systems is one such intriguing solution. This piece of software disables any outgoing functionality, including texts and calls, when it determines that you are on the road. There’s a minority that sees this software as inconvenient. But, it definitely keeps you from reaching for the Blackberry while hitting 60 mph on the highway. One of the nice things about this software is that it doesn’t simply ignore incoming texts or calls. It saves them in a folder and reveals them to the driver once the car has been shut off. The company even has an option where there can be an auto-reply set up (like in emails) for when you are driving to let the caller/texter on the other side of the phone know that you are driving and will reply promptly. This is not the cheapest alternative, though, carrying a $99 per year subscription.
One of the first concerns with disabling software is that it may affect the phones of passengers in the car. The problem has come up and, naturally, businesses have responded. CellControl works much like most other auto-disable solutions, but it comes with a convenient kink. The satellite signal that disables the phone is directed only at the driver’s seat. This keeps passengers in the car from having their phones affected. As more concerns arise, businesses will very likely respond with even more innovative apps and software.
Voice-to-text and auto-disable might be a tad bit too futuristic for all of us who fear a robot society’s eventual takeover of the planet. There are some widely used, “old school” solutions as well. Companies such as Motorola and Sony have speakers that wirelessly connect to one’s phone and at the very least make calling others easier while driving. These speakers also read texts and emails out to you so that you can answer them after put the car in park. “But, what about texting back? And my tweets?!” you ask? My method, shared by many, requires nothing of our wallets: put the darn phone down and wait until you’ve gotten out of the car.