When their teenage children are off with friends, doing what teenagers do, most parents experience some anxiety as to their chills well being. Some parents have gone as far as installing cell phone trackers/locators to help keep tabs on the teenagers whereabouts, without being overly intrusive.
The other major concern of parents is when the teenagers are in a vehicle, whether as the driver or a passenger. And rightly so, as car accidents involving teens makes up a disproportionate percentage of total motor vehicle deaths and injuries.
A major cause of all accidents, over 80% in fact, is caused by driver distraction. One of those major causes of distractions is the use of cell phones while driving, especially sending SMS messages, or Texting as it’s more commonly called.
This distraction caused by the use of cell phones, has caused an alarming increase in the road toll in the U.S and other western countries, so much so that 34 U.S. states have now legislated to ban the use of mobile phones altogether whilst a person is in control of a vehicle.
Combating Cell Phone Distraction While Driving
Recently, a company based in California has released an app for the Android market that once installed on a phone, will prevent the use of the phone for texting in any vehicle moving faster then 10mph (17kmh). This is all accomplished by using GPS tracking, which monitors the vehicles position second by second.
The developer of the Text Stop cell phone tracking application, Sam Nimer said he was driven to develop the app by the fact in the U.S alone nearly 16,000 people lost their lives while texting and driving.
Using GPS tracking, the Text Stop software monitors the speed of the vehicle, and when it senses that the vehicle is moving faster than 10mph is does 3 things:
- Disables the receiving or sending of SMS messages
- Disables the receiving or sending of email
- Switches to Bluetooth mode and only allows the user to place or receive calls via a Bluetooth device i.e. hands free
For a passenger in the car with Text Stop installed on their phone, they can call the administrator, usually the parent i.e. the person who installed Text Stop, to have them text a code to their phone to disable the Text Stop app. Enabling and disabling can all be done remotely by the administrator.
The Text Stop application costs $9.99 from the Android Marketplace. It requires Android version 2.2 (Froyo) or up.
A version of Text Stop for the iPhone is expected to be released to the iTunes store sometime late August 2011