What do you get when you mix Justin Bieber with a distracted driving campaign? PhoneGuard is hoping you get a whole lot of teens downloading its Drive Safe smartphone app. The app automatically disables texting when the phone is moving 10 miles per hour. Last week, the makers of PhoneGuard started a campaign featuring the teenage heartthrob and the Alex Brown Foundation. Alex Brown was a teenager killed by texting and driving and is showcased in the U.S. Department of Transportation's distracted driving public service commercials. Her family has been speaking out against texting while driving ever since, even shlepping her smashed-up vehicle around to prove the point. They became famous when they appeared on Extreme Makeover. (The public service video will bring tears to your eyes. Imagine how heart wrenching the Extreme Makeover show was.) PhoneGuard will be giving away one of Bieber's autographed jackets to those that download the app and register. The app is free on both Android and BlackBerry, though oddly, no iPhone version is available yet. An app is an interesting approach that parents can use to try and protect young drivers. According to its makers: The Drive Safe application enables global positioning satellite (GPS) tracking to calculate the speed of travel while a vehicle is in motion. Once vehicle speed reaches 10 miles per hour, the Drive Safe application locks the phone's keyboard, preventing the user from emailing, surfing the web or texting while driving. Other Drive Safe features include an Auto-Reply button, a pre-set response that is automatically delivered to the texter or caller and reads I am driving and will contact you when I reach my destination; a Request Permission button that allows users to request permission from the administrator to have functionality of the mobile phone; and an Admin Override button, allowing the administrator to type in a set password to override PhoneGuard's System Settings so that specific mobile functions can be utilized. For example, if a child is riding the bus, Drive Safe will know he or she is in a moving vehicle and will disable the phone. The child will then hit Request Permission, which sends a text message to the administrator. The administrator can then text "yes" back to the disabled phone, unlocking the phone for 15 minutes. After this time limit, the keyboard will be disabled again.
While anything to do with Bieber gets a whole lot of attention, there's a couple of problems with the app and the campaign. Many who have tried it are complaining on the Android marketplace that it zaps a phone's battery. Plus, a smartphone app won't stop the millions of texting phones that aren't so smart. But even more than that ... most of the kids that love Bieber aren't old enough to drive yet. The comments from some of them on the Android Market are adorable and prove the point: "I hope and will pray that I have the chance to win his jacket," wrote one. Another explains, "I can't drive yet. But downloaded it for mom. I told her to use it for Alex Brown! And she just started to cry, remembering Extreme Makeover." Still, a technological solution might be one good method, combined with lots of education. In that, Drive Safe isn't the only choice. Others include Text No More, Drive Safe.ly, On the Move and ZoomSafer.
"Ah. Justin "Twitter Bandwidth Hog" Bieber , aka "Server Crasher". Even though the App is for a good cause , it has its flaws, but nonetheless, Bieber getting the message out and creating more awareness it a great thing. The Alex Brown story is sad and so are the many tragedies that have been experienced by families of similar fate. I myself confess almost causing an accident in two or three occasions, not because of texting , but because of making or taking a call. The third time was the scariest, and from that day on , I dont answer or make a call unless I stop at a red light or pull over."
In the words of Ozzy Osbourne.......................... WHAT'S A BIEBER?!?!?!?!?!?!?
On a side note an app that disables texting after 10mph is a great idea for people; but........I can run faster than that, what if I want to run and text.
Now you're just mashing it!
"What do you get when you mix Justin Bieber with a distracted driving campaign?"
You get 12yo girls wetting their panties and screaming. Which means (1) they're too young to drive and (2) they can't hear what Miss Bieber has to say anyhow.
It's great to see a young celebrity putting his fame to good use - stay on your soapbox, Justin!
Julie, thanks for letting folks know that there are safe driving apps like ZoomSafer available to help them curb the texting while driving.
She's going to be hot when she grows up.
Marco ChiappettaManaging Editor @ HotHardware.com
Follow Marco on Twitter
LOL @ Marco good stuff bro!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
NOt old enought to drive or vote! Dont let those stupid grownups tell you what to do....YOU know better than them!
(in the words of Al Gore) :P
Might start texting and driving just because s"he"? doesn't want me to! :D
Although, we can't make too much fun of shim--it's with Selena Gomez. Lucky dog.
So I'm guessing Bieber will have a greater impact than those TV commercials that are currently playing right now...
I guess this app could work but the better alternative would be to teach your kids about this stuff directly. Technology can only do so much...
"The future starts with you; now start posting more!"
Yeah right Taylor!
No one does that anymore,...everyone knows that the only ones to teach other peoples kids is the gvmnt! And celebrities!
All those who don't think the way they tell you to and learn the way they do is just a racist idiot :P Because the kids are smarter than their parents!
Wait until the phone companies start forcing these apps onto the phones... Got Root!
While I agree put the damn phone down and drive is the right thing to do. I don't see how Justin Bieber is the right person for the job.
I think Mr. Beiber's voice on this issue will help. But I also think real change is going to come from the end user - the delivery man, the car pooling mom, or the teen driver deciding to change their habits. From truckers to moms to teens that I spoke with on the issue of text and drive - there was one common thread. If presented with a Big Brother type lock down alternative, they will immediately seek "to get around it". This does not constitute change on our highways. Selling expensive software that is supposed to lock down the activity forgets that it is the end user (the driver) who will ultimately decide. Mr. Beiber even talks about personal responsibility so why is he endorsing a Big Brother, lock down product? Let's change behavior and we will see those violent crash rates plummet...now.
I decided to do something about distracted driving after my three year old daughter was nearly run down right in front of me by a texting driver. Instead of a shackle that locks down phones and alienates the user (especially teens) I built a tool called OTTER that is a simple GPS based, texting auto reply app for smartphones. OTTER also silences those distracting call ringtones unless a bluetooth is enabled. I think if we can empower the individual then change will come to our highways now and not just our laws.
Erik Wood, owner
What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?
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