Two months ago I wrote about “Textecution”, a smartphone application available for phones using Google’s Android operating system. At the time I noted that the application’s approach – using a phone’s GPS capabilities to determine whether the user is in a moving vehicle and, if so, to turn off some or all of a handset’s functions – seemed to be the wave of the future.
Sure enough, barely eight weeks later, New York Times technology columnist David Pogue has published a detailed review of four similar applications, all of which seek to address the growing problem of distracted driving. Textecution was not among the applications reviewed this week by Pogue. All of the ones he did look at, however, take a similar approach.
As Pogue notes, iZup, tXtBlocker, CellSafety and ZoomSafer approach the problem of Oregon distracted driving in differing ways but seem to be aimed at the same market: parents of teenagers (or perhaps to bosses who fear that employees on the phone while using the company vehicle will cause an Oregon car accident leading to a lawsuit). Aside from ZoomSafer, all of the applications reviewed require a monthly subscription fee. Purchase prices range from free (for iZup, though, again, there is a monthly fee) to $25.
A useful chart at the Times website compares the features of the four applications, some of which allow calls from certain numbers (such as the user’s parents) through even when others are blocked. tXtBlocker even allows users to specify a “no-phone zone” causing the phone to go dead when, for example, a teenager is on school grounds. The applications also take different approaches to what has been called the passenger problem: if the application uses the GPS to tell when the car is in motion, where does that leave people who are in the car but aren’t behind the wheel? Cellsafety and ZoomSafer allow the block to be bypassed if one solves a timed puzzle (presumably one that no one actually driving would be able to handle).
In the months since Oregon’s ban on texting and the use of hand-held phones by drivers went into effect more and more attention has been paid to technological solutions such as these. If you have been the victim of an accident involving a Portland distracted driver, however, the time has come to turn away from technology and seek the assistance of an Oregon distracted driving attorney. It is important to select an attorney skilled in the nuances of this rapidly-developing legal field, one who is up on the latest legal developments both in our state and elsewhere.
New York Times: Your Phone is Locked. Just Drive.