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Want to Thwart Teen Texting? There's an App For That!

Texting while driving is illegal in North Carolina, not to mention dangerous. Consider these statistics:   Drivers talking on a cellphone are 4 times more likely to cause a crash than other drivers… but drivers TEXTING while driving are 23 times more likely to crash.

Nearly everyone understands the risks. One of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety polls shows that nearly 90 percent of us know that texting behind the wheel poses a “very serious” safety risk, and yet many of us do it anyway. A recent Consumer Reports survey reported that about one-third of drivers under age 30 admit to texting while driving.

Articles on WRAL.com and in the April 2011 issue of Consumer Reports give guidance about some smart-phone aids to help reduce distractions:

DriveSafe.ly Pro ($4/month or $14/year, for Android and BlackBerry). This app reads text messages and emails aloud, allowing drivers to give hands-free responses.

tXtBlocker ($7/month or $70/year, for Android and BlackBerry).  Consumer Reports calls this “the most effective antitexting product we’ve tried..” This app allows parents to set limits on where and when messages can be sent or received, and can disable the phone (while still allowing 911 calls).

TeenSafer ($3/month or $25/year, for BlackBerry with Bluetooth connection). Also blocks texting, but doesn’t allow zone-based blocks like the tXtBlocker does.

MobileLutions (free, for GPS-enabled Android and BlackBerry phones; should be available for iPhones by April 2011). Blocks incoming and outgoing texts while driving. Will be offered free as a service to keep people safer on the roads. Go to http://www.mobilelutions.com/.

For a more personal touch that goes beyond apps, the U.S. Department of Transportation has created a series of videos called “Faces of Distracted Driving.” These are personal tales of crashes and death, all involving young people. The stories are dramatic and heart-rending, and may help connect teens to the realities of danger.

HensonFuerst supports any app, at any price (but especially the free one), if it helps to save the life of a single person. We’ve dealt with the aftermath of far too many serious car wrecks. So talk…get an app…and encourage everyone to simply put the phone in the back seat where it can stay out-of-sight and out-of-hand.

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