Texting while driving is very dangerous and as a result, many states have passed laws making this practice illegal. If you'd like to make sure your teen driver doesn't indulge their texting habit while they're behind the wheel, or you don't trust yourself to keep your fingers to yourself, try one of these apps that try to prevent texting and driving.
This app uses the phone's GPS to detect when you are traveling at more than 10 miles-per-hour and disables texting. If you're a passenger, your administrator (parent) can text "allow" to the phone running Textecution to override the block. To make sure a smart kid doesn't outsmart this app, the administrator can password protect Textecution during installation, and an alert text is sent to the administrator if anyone tries to uninstall the app. Textectution can also disable emails, web access and instant messaging.
Drawback: Only suitable for teenagers unless you want to select a designated administrator to control your usage.
Price: Free, $13.95 for the pro version
DriveSafe.ly reads your texts and emails to you while you drive. The free version can be configured to send a default message that lets the other party know you're driving and will get back to them later. For $13.95, you can upgrade to the pro version that includes a voice-to-text service for hands-free responses to inbound messages.
Drawback: While hands-free use is a step up from texting while driving, listening to your messages and feeling the urge to respond can be a big distraction.
Price: $24.99 to get started, $9.99 per month after the first month
This app restricts texting as well as cell phone use in a number of ways including by location, by time and by speed of movement. It also allows the user to set safe numbers, like a home phone number or 911, that can be called even when a restriction is in place. Many parents like this app because it allows them to control a child's cell phone usage when they're in class in addition to when they're driving.
Drawback: Compared to other apps, this one is very expensive. Each consumer should decide if the features are worth the price.
Txt Msg Away Message Lite
Price: Free for Lite, $1.99 for full version
The free version of this app can be set to auto-respond to incoming texts with a pre-configured message. If you have a few friends who don't understand that you're busy, they'll only get the response once during each five-minute interval to reduce overhead. This is a great app to use when you can't respond whether you're driving, working or enjoying a movie.
Drawback: This app has to be turned on by the user. Your teen driver might "forget" to use it.
According to Distraction.gov, drivers under 20 are more likely to engage in distracted driving than any other group, and any type of cell phone use behind the wheel delays reaction times as much as having a .08 BAC, legally intoxicated in most states. Using one of these apps to restrict texting while driving could save your teen's life while still allowing him or her to make a call in the event of a true emergency.
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