Jamie Chadwick knows that her son texts and drives – and she calls him on it when she sees it happen.
“I have seen him texting while he drives,” says the 47-year-old mom from Pennsylvania. “While I’m with him, I say something. But it makes me nervous to know that he drives all that way alone, and I am not there, sitting beside him, to constantly remind him to put his phone away.”
Ms. Chadwick’s situation is similar to that of many worried parents. Automobile crashes are the number one cause of death among teenagers in the United States, according to a study funded by the General Motors Foundation. The study reports 2,439 teenagers (ages between 13 and 19) were killed in auto accidents on U.S. roads in 2012, reports the LA Times.
In a separate study, statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control revealed that at least “half of all U.S. high school students aged 16-years or older text or email while driving.”
“I just think that most teens continue to text and drive because they don’t think anything will happen to them,” says Jamie Chadwick, 47, of Pennsylvania. Mrs. Chadwick’s 19-year-old son recently began attending a university which is more than two hours away from their family home.
However, teenagers are not the only ones falling victim to the perils of texting while driving.
According to data collected by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevent, nearly 70-percent of all adults surveyed reported texting while driving, or reading an email on their cell phone.
New Apps That Prevent Texting and Driving
Now applications offered through various cell phone carriers are making it possible to prevent itchy fingers from reaching for their phone to send an email or text.
While many apps may charge a one-time or monthly fee, there are free apps available that prevent texting while driving.
Text No More: This free app rewards you for not texting while driving.
According to the Text No More’s site, signing up for this app could earn you 50-percent of coffee, clothing, food and other purchases through Groupon every time you use the app.
Text No More is compatible with most smart phones.
“In addition to saving lives by not Texting While Driving, the TextNoMore application features a Missing Child Alert so that you may be an active participant in the search and safe recovery of Missing Children,” says the app’s site.
Canary: is another app that will cost you nothing. This app is designed to ‘sing like a canary’ to parents whenever their teen is caught texting and driving, or driving while distracted.
Canary is compatible with both Android and iPhone devices. However, iPhone security restrictions limit Canary’s ability to auto reply to text messages. To use Canary, parents simply enter an online portal, which shows information about their teen’s whereabouts and any traffic violations; although, with Canary, you will not be able to see any actual calls or texts.
AT&T’s Drive Safe Mode: This app is also offered for free. However, data and texting overages may be added to your bill. According to AT&T’s site, this application sends an automatic reply text message once the vehicle begins moving faster than 25 mph.
“When the app is turned on, all calls will automatically be sent to voicemail; however, the user can identify five numbers that can always be called, and 911 calls are always allowed,” notes the AT&T website.
Drive Safe.ly: This is another free app created for Blackberry and Android devices. DriveSafe.ly offers both a free and paid package. The free app will read up to 25 words of your incoming text messages and emails aloud while sending an automated response for you.
Overwatch by Clamont Inc.: This app is oriented toward teenagers and can be purchased for $2.99 through ITunes. Overwatch can be used on either an IPhone or an IPad. This app prevents any user from texting while going faster than 15 mph. While the app is fairly new, it has received mixed reviews. Some cite Overwatch for being “hard to figure out and hard to use.”
Alternatives to Apps
Aside from using technological apps to prevent yourself or others from texting while driving, simply leaving your phone behind, and other basic methods can stop you from becoming fatally distracted.
Experts recommend keeping your phone out of reach, at home, or out of hands reach. It costs nothing and it may just be the push you need to keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.