With the advent of wireless leaders such as AT&T launching major public awareness campaigns regarding distracted driving, the issue has become much more pervasive in the public consciousness. It’s certainly paved the way for software developers to satisfy both their entrepreneurial and altruistic spirits.
Distracted driving apps take various routes to achieve the same result: making our roads safer for everyone. And don’t worry, any worthwhile distracted driving app allows for enough flexibility to address emergency phone use.
With that said, let’s take a look at a few of the apps on the market today and how they try to improve road safety:
With this app your texts and calls are not blocked in all situations. When the app is activated, it will read text messages and incoming calls aloud to you. The free version will do up to the first 25 words of a message and the paid version reads up to 500 words, also giving you the ability to dictate a reply.
Like many apps on the market, it comes with a motion detection feature. As long as the app is activated, cell phones are locked when in motion and automatically unlocks when stopped. This eliminates the major flaw with distracted apps: not knowing who in the car is using the phone.
What makes this one of the best choices out there is that DriveSafe.ly is just one in a suite of apps related to managing and monitoring digital activities. For instance, the Family Locator (a GPS tool to do just what the name implies) not only allows you to monitor a loved ones location, but also work out a schedule for places they need to be and be notified if they don’t make it there on schedule.
For: Android, iPhone, Blackberry
Cost: Paid version is $3.99 a month for one person, $9.99 a month for up to four phones, or $7.99 monthly for businesses. Also available in yearly rates.
2. Text No More
This free app, whose maker is located right here in Portland, works by rewarding drivers with local merchant deals when it is activated. These rewards remain in your phone until they are redeemed.
While enabled, the Text No More app blocks all notifications, including incoming texts, and prevents the driver from texting. However, phones with a Bluetooth will still receive calls.
What began strictly as an anti-texting tool evolved into one that also helps raise awareness for missing children. Once the Text No More app is enabled, it displays the image of a missing child.
For: Android, Blackberry, Apple (debuting this month)
Good news for competitive types. DriveScribe measures your driving performance and keeps score! You can even compete with friends and family to see who can be the safest driver. If that doesn't do it for you, you can earn points that can go towards free gift cards and discounts with various retailers.
For: Android and iPhone
Cost: Varies from free up to $10 for the premium version
This distracted driving app includes a web-based portal for parents (or whoever else is doing the monitoring) to remotely manage smartphones and implement specific safe driving rules. OneProtect allows for blocked services once a user-determined speed is met (15 mph is set as the default). It also includes the patent-pending technology, Attention Verification Test (AVT), that verifies whether or not you are the passenger or driver with a series of tests that. There are versions for family or business use.
For: Android, Blackberry, iPhone and Windows to come
Cost: $5.99 per month per use for families, $4.99 per month for companies.
Not all concerns surrounding distracted driving revolves around the family. Businesses stand to lose plenty if they leave themselves legally vulnerable by not addressing employee cell phone use while driving during work hours. Aegis Mobility makes it easier for companies to include wireless applications in their risk management policy.
Last November, the company announced the acquisition of ZoomSafer, which they integrated into their own DriveAssist to create the new FleetSafer app. It comes in three versions that can be customized to a company's existing policies. A fourth application, FleetSafer Vision, leverages a business’s existing telematics data to monitor employee cell phone use when behind the wheel.
For companies worried about any negative impact on their business, there’s the flexibility to make sure vital calls go through, while others are filtered out. Go to the Aegis Mobility site for more information.