Iowa Seeks App to Stop Texting and Driving

Aug 21

Soon to come in Iowa, teens will now be telling their friends they are 2BZ4U (which is text lingo for “too busy for you”) before they get in the driver’s seat and will continue texting @TEOTD (at the end of the day). Although the wait might seem 4EAE (forever and ever) for the receiving recipient, many lives could be saved. This is all due to a new smartphone application the Iowa Department of Transportation plans to develop.

The Department of Transportation, or DOT, is calling their application “TXTL8R,” meaning “text later.” The goal behind this new app is to prevent teenagers from texting while behind the wheel of a vehicle.

When you first hear about an app that is supposed to stop you from texting, you might think “How is that possible?” I know I did. It’s quite interesting though! According to Andrea Henry, a spokeswoman for the Iowa DOT, the application will have the ability to turn off texting “any time it detects a speed over 15 MPH.”

Although the Iowa DOT encourages teens to have the app on their cell phones, it won’t be mandatory. The point of this app is only to encourage driver safety and is completely voluntary.

“It is not tied in any way to the issuance of their license,” states Henry.

Which is something teens are happy about. Because the upcoming application is not a necessity, teens and young adults don’t feel as if they are losing privacy.

“If you’re trying to not text and drive and be a good model citizen or trying to break the habit of texting while driving, then maybe the app would help you,” says Claire Anderson, a 20-year-old from Conrad, Iowa.

To further promote their new product (coming early 2014), the DOT will be picking up the bill of the app for all teens between the ages of 14 and 17. For those of you who are not within this age range but believe the application will do you or someone you know justice, the app will be purchasable through a third party vendor (price to be announced).

There are also several apps available for purchase now with the same idea in mind. Some of the apps listed below use the phone’s GPS to determine how fast someone is traveling. However, some of these apps, such as SafeCell and Canary don’t block a motorists’ capability of texting, but warn the texter of their parents of local laws and when the phone carrier is moving quicker than 12 MPH.

AT&T DriveMode for Android and Blackberry (free)
Canary for Android and iPhone ($14.99)
SafeCell for Android and iPhone (free with in-app upgrade offers)
Sprint Drive First for Android ($2/per month)
Textcution for Android ($29.99)
text-STAR for Android (free)
tXtBlocker for Android and Blackberry ($6.99 per month)

So buckle up Iowa teens and throw that cell phone in the trunk! Your conversation is never worth risking your life or the life of someone else.

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