Phone Apps

Parents: Apps to Control Texting & Driving

There’s a cellphone in everyone’s pocket, purse or bag; and rightly so! Cellphones give added security, social and business interaction and internet access. But just as a sword can be double edged, cellphones come with risks from which we should be aware. The most talked about risk these days is texting and driving— a potent distraction!
It’s dangerous for every driver and passenger, but more commonly for teen drivers who have little experience and judgment while driving.
Teaching, warning and punishing  always deter the young driver from the temptation of social contact via cellphones. Now comes technology in the form of applications which offer services such as texting-auto response, GPS activated text/call shutdown and automatic call forwarding to voicemail.

Here is a brief review of some of the top applications available.

PLATFORM: Android  PRICE: .99¢
• Offers a basic text message auto-reply service when manually activated

PLATFORM:  Android, Blackberry, iPhone, Windows Mobile PRICE: $13.95 /year individual or $34.95 /year family
• Bluetooth/radio transmitter compatible
• Customizable automatic text response options
• One-touch activation
• Reads emails and texts aloud in real time

Key 2 Safe Driving,
PLATFORM: Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Nokia (N- and ESeries)  PRICE: $99 (one-time fee)
• Allows user to make emergency calls to 911 and two other programmed numbers when activated
• Bluetooth device that plugs into car directly which means longer battery life (no GPS requirements)
• Can link multiple phones to single vehicle (family friendly)
• Re-routes incoming calls to voicemail and texts to auto-response option
• Tamper-proof: attempts to disable or bypass system are logged and reported
• Web-based management profile

PLATFORM: Android, Blackberry, Nokia Ovi, iPhone and Win Mobile  PRICE: $4.99
• Auto Reply with timer options
• Easily editable and grouped responses• GPS Mode (text alerts & phone ringer silenced)
• Manual mode with three one-touch text response buttons
• Parental Control Feature (password/GPS)

Teen Safer,
PLATFORM: Blackberry (Android beta testing) PRICE: $2.99 /month. or $25/year
• Auto-launch “safe drive mode” when paired with any in-vehicle Bluetooth
• Automatically replies to inbound texts, emails and calls with a message
• Notifies parents once software is installed and each time teen starts and stops driving
• Restricts inbound and outbound calls to three priority contacts
• Texts your teen
• Sends and receives calls & contacts

Text Gauge,
PLATFORM: Android  PRICE:  free
• Application becomes active at speeds of 3 mph and higher
• Automatically blocks text, chat and email
• Password-enabled application which parents control
• Runs in the background and requires a password to control

Text Arrest,
PLATFORM: Android  PRICE: Free (Single User) Family Plans: $4.99 /mo. (2-5 users) $7.99 /mo. (6-10 users)
• Auto phone lock while in motion
• Auto response options
• Custom alerts for parents and geo-fence location boundary
• Passenger override and emergency override
• Web-based monitoring dashboard

PLATFORM: Android (other devices in development)  PRICE: $29.99 (one-time fee)
• Administrator (parent) is notified if application is uninstalled from the phone
• Once it recognizes movement of 10 mph or greater disables all texting features
• Teen can request permission from administrator for text usage while phone is in motion (e.g., as a passenger in vehicle), which if allowed turns off Textecution for a four-hour period

Note: Range Driver Training does not endorse any of these applications nor, by using these applications, do they guarantee a driver’s safety.  Prices may be different than listed.