Millions of cell phone users text every day while driving, and studies as well as common sense show this to be a very dangerous activity. Fortunately, new smartphone apps are appearing on the market to help keep people from texting while driving. One such application is Otter, now available for Android and Blackberry. Sadly, it was not yet available for iPhone when this post was written, but hopefully soon will be.
Otter lets phone users control their texting in a vehicle in more than one way. There is a really good video which shows the features of Otter, better than I can describe them (check out the Otter video here). GPS based motion sensing technology allows the user to set Otter to block incoming texts and calls, if so desired. While the vehicle is in motion, the Otter app will silence alerts and ringtones and allow the driver to focus on the task at hand, driving. At the same time, customized reply messages can be created which allow users to inform callers and texters that they aren’t being ignored, and their message will be returned when safe.
Parents can set Otter to do these functions in their teenager’s phone, with a password. This allows parents to set ground rules for their driving aged children to keep them safe behind the wheel, eliminating temptation.
My personal opinion is that spouses should be able to passcode the phones of their husbands and wives with the Otter application to keep them safe behind the wheel, not just teenagers. Everyone seems to be in denial about how dangerous it is to be a distracted driver. Yes, teenagers are texting and driving, but so are housewives, salesmen, and truck drivers!
I would love to try out Otter myself, but unfortunately that isn’t possible on the iPhone at this time. Apple, get with the program and help us have this functionality! You don’t want Android to get the drop on you, do you? Texting and driving is a safety issue, and phone manufacturers are enabling people to make poor choices. I think all of the companies which put phones on the market should be trying to eliminate cell phone use by drivers.