New Technology To Address The Texting While Driving Conundrum

It really is an issue: people just can’t resist the lure of message calling for a response. Following my post a couple days ago about Jalopnik’s map showing anti-texting laws across the country, I got an email from Michael Riemer of ZoomSafer, a new technology to help drivers reduce distractions imposed by technology.

ZoomSafer is a free software and services application for download that manages calls, texts and social networks to ensure that the driver is presented with as few distractions as possible. It is currently in alpha, but will be released in beta in early August. Taken from a recent press release:

ZoomSafer software will automatically detect when users are driving, triggering a set of user defined events, and activating several services, including:

  • The playing of a customizable audio file – from spouse, child, employer or favorite celebrity — reminding the user to “be safe and focus on the road”
  • Auto-updates to social networks including Facebook and Twitter (including the option to share location) so friends, family and co-workers know that the user is driving and are less likely to interrupt
  • Automatic suppression of inbound alerts and issuance of auto-replies to calls, texts, and emails to inform others that the user is focused while driving and will respond when available
  • Personalized audio announcements of select callers so the user does not have to look at their phone to see who is calling
  • Voice safety portal so users can create / send voice-powered emails, text messages, and Tweets as well as well as listen to audio-enabled, personalized content feeds including blogs, RSS, Twitter posts, etc.

ZoomSafer will be available on RIM Blackberry, iPhone, Windows Mobile, Symbian and Android powered devices. Sounds like an interesting way to customize the distractions you want while eliminating the distractions you don’t.

This morning, I stumbled upon another take on a solution to this problem: the DOT. DOT is the brainchild of graphic designer Cyrene Quiamco and is quite ingenious. It is a hybrid cellphone and headset, with the ability to project an active keyboard or other images. It is designed to browse the internet and project pages as well, essentially offering the wearer a heads-up display and reducing the need to look away from the focus target. Check out the concept image below, it is pretty cool:
DOT

DOT 2

Nothing like technology to solve the problems that technology creates! Nice solutions, ZoomSafer and DOT.

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The Long Arm Of The Law – Anti-Texting Edition

LONDON - FEBRUARY 27:  A sign on the M25 orbit...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Makes perfect sense when you are behind the wheel – make sure that your fingers are not doing the talking. Not everyone shares this sentiment, however. It behooves lawyers to have the lowdown on the laws regarding driving while texting – to protect themselves when they are tempted and to be prepared for those clients who may have gotten their fingers burnt, so to speak.

Jalopnik offers quick and easy visual maps for determining how states are handling legislation regarding texting, which may not expressly or explicitly fall under cell phone driving laws or driver distraction laws. This is a barebones color-coded series of maps, which does not give offer links to relevant legislation. Furthermore, these maps are going to change radically as time (and laws) pass. But I was able to determine quickly from the maps that, while there is nothing yet on the books in Massachusetts, there is legislation pending. Enough to set me on the path to legislative research on the question.

The bigger point to be made here is that even though technology affords us the ability to singletask or multitask in new and exciting ways it does not grant us the license to do so at all times. We, the “drivers” of technology, need to engage it responsibly at all times. Sometimes, that means we need to “drop out of the fast lane” and, if necessary, hold off until tomorrow what should not be done today while driving on a car trip. That includes shaving, putting on makeup, and reading the paper too. Sheesh!

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