Most Austinites have experienced a moment (or two) of frustration directed at another driver who was simply not paying attention because (surprise!) they were using their phone, probably texting while driving. Resisting the urge to answer the phone is a struggle for local drivers. It can be difficult to fight the instinct to take our eyes off the road to look at the source of those enticing pings, whistles, “ba-dums” and buzzes.
There are thousands of car accident deaths each year caused by drivers who just need to answer that text message or browse their social media, rather than focus on driving. This has prompted app makers and cell phone companies to create ways to help reduce the number of accidents caused by phone distractions.
Useful Apps Can Help Drivers Stay Hands Free and Focused
If you know a certain teenage driver you don’t want texting while driving, or perhaps think you could afford to spend less time on the phone yourself, these are a few apps created to help drivers stay hands-free:
- TXtBlocker is a location-based app that allows users to set up “No-Cell Zones”, which disables cell phone usage and blocks incoming notifications when the user is in school, at work or driving.
- Cellcontrol requires the installation of a device under the steering column that keeps track of when the car is moving and wirelessly sends a screen block to the phone, preventing the driver from checking notifications or otherwise interacting with their phone.
- TextLimit allows the user or parent to set a speed limit for which some or all of the phones features are disabled. However, navigation is available, as well as a “safe contacts” list that allows parents or employers to contact the user for emergencies.
- AT&T DriveMode, Sprint Drive First and Verizon Safely Go are all apps mobile providers recommend that disables phone features when the car reaches certain speed limits. Most of these carrier applications send automated responses via text message to let all who try to contact the driver know the driver is unavailable.
Inventors of text-blocking tech hope these applications and devices become implemented as a driving safety standard in the future. In the meantime, drivers particularly prone to distraction have these resources available to help them stay hands-free and distraction-free.
Aaron Allison is a personal injury attorney who helps Austinites with their car accident cases and insurance claims.