New App Guards Against Texting and Driving
If you are the parent of a teenage driver, the idea of your “invulnerable” teen texting while driving may be among your greatest fears. Now “there’s an app for that.”
Although texting and driving is not illegal in all states yet, it certainly is a dangerous activity anywhere you go especially on touchscreen phones that require more attention to hit the correct key. There are currently 43 states that ban text messaging for all drivers. Of the 7 states without an all driver texting ban, 4 prohibit text messaging by novice drivers. While some drivers can resist the urge to use their phone while behind the wheel, it is not always so easy for some. An app called SafeCell makes it easier to stop texting while driving by offering a cash-equivalent rewards at many retailers.
SafeCell also takes the guesswork out of complying with calling and texting laws that can vary by state, county and city by pushing current cell phone use laws to your phone using GPS and a proprietary database of all the cell phone use and texting laws. This means in addition to earning rewards you can avoid getting a ticket for a local law you didn’t know about.
When the app detect that you are traveling over five miles per hour and in a zone with applicable distracted driving laws it will disable phone, texting, and email capabilities. If you need to make an emergency call you can click the “Place Emergency Call button” to interrupt the app. While using the app you have the option of sending an auto text message to people who call or text stating that, “The person you are trying to reach is driving and will receive your message upon reaching their destination.”
The rewards accrue for every mile driven while obeying any applicable laws. If there are no laws in effect, but you practice safe driving you will still earn rewards. Not obeying laws while driving will take points from your rewards. If you need to use your phone or are a passenger you can pause or stop the app, but no reward points will be earned during this time.
500 miles logged equals $5 in rewards available for redemption at more than 300 retailers including Apple, Amazon, Cabela’s, Macy’s and many more. The rewards are issued in $5 increments and max out at $250 a year.
In addition to keeping you in line with the law and giving rewards, SafeCell creates driving logs for parents or employers to use in monitoring their kids or employees’ driving habits. These detailed trip reports provide added incentive to obey the law and safety concerns regarding cell phone use while driving.
The app is currently available for Apple and Android devices.
Ken Shigley is an Atlanta-based personal injury and wrongful death trial lawyer. He is past president of the State Bar of Georgia, chair-elect of the American Association for Justice Motor Vehicle Collision, Highway & Premises Liability Section, and a board certified civil trial attorney of the National Board of Trial Advocacy.