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?

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 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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