Devices Claim They’ll Help You Drive Safely While Texting, On The Phone

handsfree_textingCan adding new layers of technology really fix a problem created by technology? Software developers and hardwaremakers are rushing to help people stay connected through their phones while driving, even as states ban driving and texting or talking on the phone without a hands-free device. “Technology doesn’t typically go backward. It’s like Pandora’s box: Once someone knows they can do something, it’s difficult to get them to stop doing it,” said Chris Hassett, CEO of Boston-based AdelaVoice, which just released StartTalking, a smartphone app that allows texting using only voice commands.

A study released last week by the Highway Loss Data Institute found no decrease in crashes in California, Louisiana, Minnesota and Washington after those states approved driving-while-texting bans.

“Teenagers and others are now holding their phone in awkward positions so they don’t get ticketed while they do the same dangerous behavior,” Hassett said.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, a fierce proponent of legislation to limit distracted driving, slammed the Highway Loss Data Institute study, calling it misleading.

“We have a national law against drunk driving. People are also required to wear seat belts. But if the number of fatalities in a state goes up one year, would it now pass as research to say that seat belt and anti-drunk driving laws are to blame?” LaHood wrote on his official blog.

Yes, it’s ironic to add technology to the car to make technology less distracting. But here are some of the slickest solutions that, if used properly, could help keep you safer on the road.  

STARTTALKING: This Android-based smartphone app touts itself as the world’s first 100 percent eyes- and hands-free texting application.

Drivers turn on the application before starting the car and can control texting functions — including drafting a new message — through voice commands.

And, unlike other similar applications, it can run in the background without forcing the phone’s display to be illuminated, saving on crucial battery life. Read more in Contra Costa Times.

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