More Not-Entirely-Useful Tech Tries To Stop Texting While Driving

from the wut-r-u-tryin-2-do-2-my-fon-dad dept

While legislators try (and fail) to ban the use of mobile phones while driving, the market for technology to kill phone use while driving is heating up. Last month, a company announced a device aimed at stopping teens from talking while driving, though it appears to have plenty of pitfalls. Now comes "Textecution" (a piece of software for Android phones) that kills a device's ability to send or receive texts when it detects the phone is moving at more than 10 miles per hour. The application's developers intend for parents to install it on their kids' phones so they can't text while driving -- assuming, of course, the kids have a G1 handset. That's a significant hurdle in itself, as it's hard to imagine that, as with so many other things, kids won't find it too hard to circumvent. Also, the application can't tell when a kid is actually driving a car, or simply riding in one, or riding on a bus or train, or in another situation where they're moving faster than 10 mph, but not driving a car, and perfectly able to safely text. It really appears that this software isn't much of a solution, but rather window dressing that makes parents think they're doing something to protect their kids. But isn't installing some easily defeated application on your teenager's phone to put your mind at ease simpler than trying to teach them responsibility?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Twinrova, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 4:07am

    2 cents

    "But isn't installing some easily defeated application on your teenager's phone to put your mind at ease simpler than trying to teach them responsibility?"

    Look around. When was the last time you saw a parent do anything to teach responsibility?

    But then again, teenagers only represent a very, very small part of the population who would be stupid enough to text/talk while driving.

    While a phone is a distracting device, I still don't believe it's causing as many accidents out there. I blame idiotic driving habits on people who cut off others, change lanes without signaling, driving too fast in traffic, and my favorite: running lights when they should stop.

    So knock it off, people.

     

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  2.  
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    Paul`, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 5:03am

    What person of the legal age to drive by themselves is going to let their parent's install crap on their phones?

     

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  3.  
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    Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 5:38am

    Re: 2 cents

    I agree with you that there are a lot of bad drivers who fail to signal turns and lane changes, who cross multiple lanes, who fail to stay in their lane, who run stop signs, and speed way too fast. However, we just had (another) driver in the Indianapolis area who was driving an SUV and texting and apparently left the road and rolled her SUV. Because she was also not wearing a seat belt, she ended up dead. Single car accident.

    There is evidence (see links below) that using a cell phone while driving is becoming a serious road hazard. 2600 deaths per year and 330,000 injuries due to driving accidents while using the cell phone is kind of hard to ignore. A study that shows using a cell phone is a greater driver impairment than a blood alcohol content of 0.08% is hard to ignore. The fact that cell phone use increases the risk of an accident over non cell phone use by a factor of 4 is hard to ignore.

    Bottom line: Your cell phone use while driving puts my life at risk.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2004-10-19-handsfree-driving_x.htm

    http://en.wikiped ia.org/wiki/Mobile_phones_and_driving_safety?ref=http%3A//www.google.com/search%3Fhl%3Den%26q%3Dharv ard+cell+phone+use+accident+statistics

     

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  4.  
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    OldFogey, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 5:52am

    Power Steering

    I blame power steering, if people didn't have that, then they would have to have both hands on the wheel! Driving habits have worsened considerably since its introduction!

     

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  5.  
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    Bob, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 5:59am

    What a horrible idea...

    Both driving while texting and disabling phones so they can't.

     

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  6.  
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    BTR1701, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 6:04am

    But it's for the children!

    Anything done to protect the cheeldrun is okay by me. No amount of restriction on freedom is too much if it saves just one child!

     

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  7.  
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    Haywood, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 6:06am

    euthanasia

    Since there is likely no technical solution, perhaps a a 9mm brain implant would help. The implant is specifically designed to be installed in the forehead.

    When properly installed it will allow the implantee to speak to God.
    The implant may or may not be painless.
    Side effects, like headaches and nausea, are temporary.
    Some bleeding or swelling may occur at the injection site.

     

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  8.  
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    Witty Nickname, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 6:06am

    If I pay my kid's bill I can put whatever I want on his phone. If he wants to pay the bill he can text on a train.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 6:11am

    Battery Life et. al.

    I have the developer version of the G1. There are so many problems with this software that it isn't even humorous.

    First, the "fine" GPS would be needed with this application. Using the fine resolution zaps the battery. If someone tried to use this application, what it would actually prevent is anyone using the phone for anything after 1 PM because the battery would be dead by then.

    Second, the security system on the G1 is intended to allow anything that is is installed to be removed easily. Any half-way competent hacker can get around that, but I am sure nothing that tried to circumvent security would get past on the Google Market. The parent would have to check the phone frequently to see if it was still there, and there would be no way to prevent the teen from uninstalling, texting while driving, and then reinstalling.

    Finally, I am reminded of the old joke about filters on the Internet. The joke goes something like, "there are already kiddie filters on the Internet, but the kids won't tell the grownups how to turn them on." In mose families the teenagers are a lot more tech savvy than the parents. Anything that the parents did would be undone in a matter of minutes by the teens.

    Finally, there are a lot of reasons a person would want to use a phone while moving more than 10 mph. One of my daughters called me to tell me she didn't think the person she was with was a safe driver. I am sure glad I didn't have a speed lock on her phone.

     

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  10.  
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    usmcdvldg, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 6:44am

    Re:

    Depending on the age of your kid, I'm willing to bet he could take it off anytime he wanted without your knowledge. And judging by the simplicity of the app, he could download the developers kit and change it so it never works!!!!

     

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  11.  
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    mslade, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 7:01am

    Sure would suck if...

    ...the kid needed it in an emergency. Imagine: your child gets kidnapped and tries to phone home... oops! Boy is your face red.

     

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  12.  
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    Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 7:08am

    Re: Sure would suck if...

    Yes, indeed. The child will need to cell phone to call for help after getting into a single car accident caused by using the cell phone. I wonder when the face will be red?

     

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  13.  
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    mslade, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 7:27am

    Re: Re: Sure would suck if...

    K. So block your kid from driving while talking/texting on the phone and hope that s/he doesn't get into a horrific accident for doing something else stupid because s/he lacks a fundamental respect for the death machines s/he is driving.

    See personally, I don't have kids yet but when I do I will teach them to respect the deadly power of cars. If I don't feel they've learned the lesson, they won't drive. I plan on installing watchdog devices in the car so I know how they are driving and if I find that they're driving irresponsibly, they will lose the car. If not, no harm done.

    In either case, I will not hamper their ability to call me in an emergency just becaues they happen to be moving > 10 MPH, and I will have peace of mind.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 7:37am

    Isn't america great...

    No need to take responsibility for you own behavior. We'll just make laws and technology to take that off your hands.

     

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  15.  
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    Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 7:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Sure would suck if...

    I repeat what I said earlier...

    There is evidence (see links below) that using a cell phone while driving is becoming a serious road hazard. 2600 deaths per year and 330,000 injuries due to driving accidents while using the cell phone is kind of hard to ignore. A study that shows using a cell phone is a greater driver impairment than a blood alcohol content of 0.08% is hard to ignore. The fact that cell phone use increases the risk of an accident over non cell phone use by a factor of 4 is hard to ignore.

    Bottom line: Your cell phone use while driving puts my life at risk.

     

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  16.  
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    James, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 8:55am

    Jammer

    I want a device to jam cell phones in movie theatres, because the world is full of idiots who pay $10+ to see a movie and then answer their damn phone while its going on.

     

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  17.  
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    Nicholas, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 9:24am

    Reminds me of my GPS in my car. If I'm travelling more than a snail's pace, it disables all input buttons. Nevermind the fact that I may have someone in my passenger seat who can helm the controls. It's just disabled. So I have to pull off of a freeway and park in order to just change my destination.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 9:52am

    The real solution...

    Take away the phone... err, just kidding...

    No, the real solution is to make a blue tooth device that is somehow attached to the car key, and when the car key is inserted it sends a message to the phone to disable the phone. Would need to be incorporated to make sure it isn't circumvented. And you could add the motion thing to only disable if the key is in the ignition and the car is travelling more than xx mph.

    That is my thoughts anyway.

     

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  19.  
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    Marsha Egan, Jan 19th, 2009 @ 6:12am

    Better than nothing...

    Obviously, the device has some flaws -- especially with the inability to determine whether the person is driving or not. BUT, this issue is so important, that anything that we can do to keep ANYONE testing while driving is a step in the right direction. This practice DEADLY.

     

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  20.  
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    titianna, Feb 19th, 2009 @ 7:31am

    what the hell is going on right now this time texting while driving is fun as hell. don;t know what the fuck is going on this state bitches.

     

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  21.  
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    david r, Feb 20th, 2010 @ 5:57am

    no text-no cell service when driving...

    I have a device when you place in your teens car..hidden..size of a cigarette pack.. will kill cell service in the car.. no text..no talk when your teen is driving.. excellent device..you can install yourself.. for more infor email me at sunrisedetail@aim.com

     

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  22.  
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    M. Custer, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 2:24pm

    No texting while driving.

    I have read where there is a device that can sense movement such as in a vehicle that will prevent cell phones from sending or receiving text messages. This should be installed in all cell phones by law. You shouldn't be texting and driving in the first place. If its an emergency, pull over and make the call, if you can't, it's probably because you wrecked your car while texting in the first place. Have our lives become so pathetic that we can't go a day (or even a second for many) without using the cell.

     

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  23.  
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    M. Custer, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 2:25pm

    No texting while driving.

    I have read where there is a device that can sense movement such as in a vehicle that will prevent cell phones from sending or receiving text messages. This should be installed in all cell phones by law. You shouldn't be texting and driving in the first place. If its an emergency, pull over and make the call, if you can't, it's probably because you wrecked your car while texting in the first place. Have our lives become so pathetic that we can't go a day (or even a second for many) without using the cell.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 12:31pm

    So the kid can no longer use the phone to text for help when locked in my car's trunk? Mmmmm, that's a good thing to know...........

     

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