Most of us are on the road nearly every day, making it very likely that many of us will observe a distracted driver texting away as he or she drives down a busy highway. According, to Distraction.gov, the U.S. Department of Transportation's website devoted to educating Americans about the dangers of distracted driving, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices at any given moment while driving. Even with rising public awareness in recent years of the dangers of distracted driving, the number of drivers engaging in this risky activity has not decreased.

Although the problem of distracted driving entails many forms such as eating and drinking, grooming, using a navigation system, watching a video, or adjusting a radio, CD or MP3 player, texting while driving is the most prominent distracted driving activity according to Distraction.gov.

Whether you're a driver or a concerned parent, you want to keep your family and loved ones safe when they're on the road. These days, there seems to be an app for everything. But what about distracted driving? Is there an app for that?

The short answer is yes! In fact, there are several apps that can help people stay safer on the road. Some apps work on the honor system and allow you to voluntarily lock your phone, while others eliminate the temptation by locking your phone as soon it's in the motion (with the exception of dialing 911). Whichever level of control you need, there's an app that fits your needs. Here are some to check out.

txtBlocker (txtblocker.com) allows you to set up "no cell zones" that limit cell phone use based on specific locations and times. It also has monitoring options for parents to track the phone's location or alert you when the phone's owner exceeds a certain speed limit. It has both an annual payment option and a monthly option stating at $6.99 per month.

DriveSafe.ly (drivesafe.ly) reads your text message and emails aloud and then automatically response to the sender. Prices range from $13.95 a year for a single driver to $34.95 annually for the family plan.

Live2Txt (getlive2txt.com) allows you to block incoming notifications of texts and calls on your smartphone and will send a customized message alerting the caller or sender that you are unable to respond.

SAFECELL (safecellapp.com) automatically disables call, e-mail, and messaging functions, while tracking your position to warn you of local no-text and no-cell rules. The app also records safe driving behavior, allowing drivers to review their driving behavior and collect points that build over time. SAFECELL is available on the Google Play Store for $2.99 or the Apple App Store for $1.99.

Another app that parents may want to consider for their teens is the RISK-O-Lator. This free app calculates how risk for teen drivers are increased and compounded by texting while driving, speeding, tailgating, driving at night or driving with other teens in the car. Adolescents can determine how taking multiple risks at the same time can increase their chances of being involved in a collision. By decreasing or avoiding these risk, young drivers can decrease their chance of an accident. The Risk-O-Lator app can be downloaded free of charge through the Google Play Store and is coming soon to the Apple App Store.

In addition to these apps, you may want to look into apps offered by your mobile carrier. AT&T's DriveMade, Sprint's Driver First, T-Moblie's DriveSmart, and Verizon's Safely Go are all available for free to help combat the problem of distracted driving.

The next time you are tempted to send a text while driving or see someone else texting behind the wheel, remember....there's an app for that! Drive Safe!



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