BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) - There are a number of smartphone applications that claim to put a stop to texting behind the wheel.
Sites like TextLimit.com say for a monthly fee you can register a phone number and have complete control over phone features when a driver is behind the wheel. You determine what speed you want features of the phone to become limited or disabled. Once the phone falls below the speed you set, the features become active again.
In an empty parking lot, I hopped in my news truck and fired up my iPhone to test an app called "Drive- Safe.ly." The app claims to read text messages and emails out loud and send an auto response. It also has other features.
After spending several minutes trying to download the application, I received a message from iTunes stating that "Drive Safe.ly" was not available in the U.S. iTunes store. After being prompted to search the iTunes store for a different country, I was still unable to find the app.
The next test involved an app called "Textecution" for Android based smartphones.
It's said to turn off text messaging capabilities if your car is moving more than 10 miles per hour.
Before you use the app you have to set up an parent/administrator password. The password is required any time the app is opened and in order to edit settings or uninstall.
In an empty parking lot, at 11 miles per hour, I tried to send a text message. While typing a screen appeared, stating I was driving too fast to send a text message.
With a price tag of $29.99, "Textecution" did prevent me from sending a text message. I was also unable to use social media site, send emails and surf the web.
Byron Partridge, the Director of the Alabama Traffic Safety Center says these apps can be useful but they shouldn't be a substitute for talking to teens about how dangerous texting and driving.
Partridge says during teen driving courses at the center instructors reinforce how important it is for parents to set a good example behind the wheel.
"The kids are watching you. If they see you texting and driving, they see you talking on the phone driving they think it's okay so we try to let the parents know they are the most important aspect." He adds, "They say on an average it takes up to seven years for anyone to become a good driver and when you add something as dangerous as texting and driving you're asking for trouble."
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