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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
Drive Safe.ly, www.drivesafe.ly
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, www.key2safedriving.com
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, www.teensafe.com
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, www.textgauge.com
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, www.appbrain.com
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.
Distance learning and Covid-19 Statement
DPS has informed us of a tentative expiration date for the teleconference class variance of Sept 4. After that date, without a further extension of the variance from DPS, we will no longer be able to provide distance learning classes.
We are planning on running our fall classrooms but at this time we are not sure if they will be teleconference or in person. We will be working with the DPS and local community Ed programs to determine how our classes will be run. As soon as we determine how and where we can run classes we will schedule for fall.
Behind The Wheel:
COVID: We have put numerous precautions in place while doing our behind the wheel lessons. The student and instructor must wear masks. We have installed a barrier between the student and instructor. We disinfect the vehicle between students. We only run outside air while teaching. We eliminated any physical contact exchanging paperwork or payments.
**We are giving priority to students who have a road test scheduled.** If you do not have a test scheduled yet we will call you in the same order (passed permit notification list) we used previously.
We have been told by the DPS that the Virginia exam station will not open until September. The closest open exam stations are Duluth and Grand Rapids. If you had a test scheduled in Virginia, the DPS is supposed to call you to reschedule at one of the 2 exam stations listed above. You will be given priority to re schedule your test.
Do Not turn down a test date. If you get a test date, Contact us immediately and we will give you priority for behind the wheel and do our best to finish you by that test date.
All road tests are scheduled ONLINE. You cannot call to schedule a test. Go online to:
dvs.dps.mn.gov to schedule a test.
NOTE: The 2 exam stations, Grand Rapids and Duluth, will be open for testing the 3rd Saturday of the month during July, August, Sept, Oct.
Thank You for your patience.
Mike and Mary Madden