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Cell Phone Apps Prevent Driving While Texting

The blocking software helps with enforcement since drivers typically can continue to text even after receiving a citation.
As the dangers of DWT -- driving while texting -- become increasingly evident, two new solutions to the problem have emerged in recent days.

One kills the texting function in cell phones, while the other enables mobile phone users to speak a short message, which is then automatically converted to text and sent to a recipient.

In an announcement Wednesday, Textecution said its application is available for Android phones, including the Google G1. The $9.99 application also is being developed for the iPhone, said Jonathan Young, president of Jonathan Young Enterprises, the parent company of Textecution.

The Textecution application entirely kills the texting feature in the G1 phone by linking to the phone's GPS system. Once a vehicle moves more than 10 mph, the texting feature is disabled.

"My own children were the inspiration behind Textecution," Young said in a statement. "As a parent, I was concerned about their safety, and I felt that the temptation for them to text while driving was simply too great."

When the vehicle in which a cell phone is situated is at rest or is moving at less than 10 mph, the texting feature is seamlessly enabled. The Textecution application also can disable Internet functions.

Mobivox utilizes a different approach. The company, which offers a variety of calling and messaging services, features a voice-activated application that enables users to record a short message, which is then automatically transcribed and delivered in minutes as a Short Message Service (SMS) text message or as an e-mail message. Recipients must already be included as contacts in the caller's Mobivox address book.

Xuesong Zhou, a University of Utah researcher, has developed a device that disables cell phones entirely when a specially engineered car key is inserted in a car's ignition. The Key2SafeDriving car key was co-developed by Dr. Wally Curry. While the device is protected by patents, it's not in production.

Several states have outlawed texting while driving, and others are moving to ban the practice. One problem, of course, is enforcement, because drivers typically can continue to text. California began banning texting Jan. 1, and New Hampshire legislators are considering a ban.

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