Texting while driving… some practical solutions

Every cell phone owner has repeatedly heard about the dangers of texting while driving, yet texting continues to be one of the major contributing factors in vehicle accidents.  Here are some eye-opening facts that show the true dangers of texting while driving:

  • Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field. (2009, VTTI)
  • A texting driver is 23 times more likely to get into a crash than a non-texting driver. (2009, VTTI)
  •  Of those killed in distracted-driving-related crashes, 995 involved reports of a cell phone as a distraction (18% of fatalities in distraction-related crashes). (2009, NHTSA)
  • Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (2005, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
  • 49% of drivers with cell phones under the age of 35 send or read text messages while driving. (2011, Harris Poll)
  • 60% of drivers use cell phones while driving. (2011, Harris Poll)

While the best solution is to turn your cell phone off as you drive, here are a few free smart phone apps that have been designed to lessen the dangers associated with texting while driving:

  • http://www.parkthephone.org/ – This free app is great for parents of teenage drivers.  It has the ability to detect when a person is in a vehicle, and if the person is driving, the app will silence the phone, auto reply to text messages, send calls to voice mail, and monitor speed and report speeding exceptions [Note: this app is not yet available for the iphone].
  • http://www.drivesafe.ly/ – DriveSafe.ly is a free mobile app that reads text (SMS) messages and emails aloud in real time and automatically responds without drivers touching the mobile phone.
  • http://www.vlingo.com/ – This app has been likened to Siri on the iPhone 4S.  For driving purposes, this app will allow you to speak a text message or ask for directions without having to type anything on your phone.

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