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Texting while driving—often by younger drivers in the U.S.–has become a growing threat to the driving public! Distracted driving causes motor vehicle accidents, injuries and loss of lives. In Virginia, as in approximately 30 other states, there is a ban on texting while driving for all drivers; and in some states there is a partial ban for novice drivers, but the laws are difficult to enforce. Even President Obama has taken up the challenge by issuing a federal order banning U.S. government employees from texting while operating government-owned vehicles.

If you don’t think this could be a problem, you need to know that according to CTIA-The Wireless Association, “About 1.56 trillion texts were sent in the USA in 2009.” And, if one needs more evidence, take a look at some of the cars around you at the next stop light. It seems like everyone is doing it, and just about anyone with a "smart" phone has probably taken a peak (at a minimum) at his or text or email while behind the wheel. We may even frown upon others doing it, while we ourselves do it.

Yet, there is good news on the horizon and another reason to cheer, as the public outcry for safety and safer driving is driving the technology marketplace to do something to stem the tide of phone-texting-related accidents. Two firms, Manage Mobility (Apharetta, GA) and WebSafety, Inc. (Irving, TX) have partnered “to provide software to government agencies and businesses that disables the texting, e-mailing and Web-browsing functions of a wireless phone in moving vehicles. Manage Mobility, an Alpharetta-based management and logistics firm, will provide technology developed by WebSafety Inc.

It is possible that this new development may even provoke some First Amendment questions, among other objections. But, if this software works and keeps moms, kids, babies and the rest of us safer, it cannot be that bad of a development. When can I get it as an app on MY phone and my kids’ phones? Let us hope that the result of these firms’ efforts accomplish what the enthusiasm for communicating via text messaging (or email), and the lack of experience and common sense in our population, have chipped away.


  1. Gravatar for swinnel39

    Technology is the problem and technology can solve the problem. Teens are losing their lives from distracted driving with mobile phones. Cellcontrol is the best solution I have found. With Cellcontrol ( parents have the ability to set rules on what a phone can and cannot do when a car is moving. Texting and driving is eliminated. Cellcontrol is the worlds most advanced technology to solve this problem utilizing a signal directly from your vehicle to determine movement ensures you are only blocked in YOUR vehicle(s) not while a passenger in another vehicle like GPS based solutions. This technology will save lives!

  2. Gravatar for Erik Wood

    I think real change on this issue is going to come from the end user - the delivery man, the car pooling mom, or the teen driver deciding to change their habits. From truckers to moms to teens that I spoke with on the issue of text and drive - there was one common thread. If presented with a Big Brother type lock down alternative, they will immediately seek "to get around it". This does not constitute change on our highways. Selling expensive software with recurring fees that is supposed to lock down the activity forgets that it is the end user (the driver) who will ultimately decide. Let's change behavior and we will see those violent crash rates

    I decided to do something about distracted driving after my three year old daughter was nearly run down right in front of me by a texting driver. Instead of a shackle that locks down phones and alienates the user (especially teens) I built a tool called OTTER that is a simple GPS based, texting auto reply app for smartphones. OTTER also silences those distracting call ringtones unless a bluetooth is enabled. OTTER's low cost and lack of recurring fees demonstrates how accessible this technology is right now. I think if we can empower the individual then change will come to our highways now and not just our laws.

    Erik Wood, owner


    OTTER app

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