Avoid Cell Phone Driving Distractions with ZoomSafer
While working on our CES coverage, we had a chance to talk with Matt Howard, founder of a software company called ZoomSafer, which is designed to prevent the urge to text and use your phone while driving.
We all know as new drivers how we shouldn’t text and drive, as it not only impairs our ability to drive properly and puts us and our car at risk, but it also puts everyone else on the road around you at risk. No text, email or Facebook update is important enough to risk your life for.
So what is ZoomSafer and how do they get rid of this urge (which we all admittedly have at times)? ZoomSafer is an app for your BlackBerry or Windows Mobile phone (the Windows Mobile app is currently in beta, with other platforms like Android also in the works) that runs in the background on your phone, and by using GPS, senses when your driving (when it senses your GPS is going over 15 MPH) and automatically blocks incoming texts and other updates from coming up on screen and distracting you while you drive. The texts are all still there, and once you stop driving you can reply back to them as you please, but ZoomSafer prevents it from flashing all over your screen and thereby becoming a distraction.
It will also lock out your keypad to help fight the urge to send that quick text back, and will also even send out an auto-reply for you saying your driving right now and can’t text/email back. If you really need to check to see if you got a new text, ZoomSafer can read you your texts (albeit in a very computerized voice) and even let you record replies to send back. Now you can still make and receive calls, but they will need to be over a Bluetooth or other hands free device. You are the one who turns ZoomSafer off once you reach your destination, and if you are a passenger in a car and want to use your friend’s phone, you can still exit the app and use the phone and text, IM, email whoever you want (and yes, if you’re a driver and want to ignore ZoomSafer, by all means you could).
We know this seems harsh, but considering how many teen deaths are caused from distracted driving (some studies say this is the leading cause of teen deaths) and how using your phone while driving is illegal in 21 states already, we feel this is a very important PSA to mention. The app itself is free to download, though it will cost either a $2.99 monthly subscription or $25 one time fee to use, something we don’t find too bad at all considering what it could help save.
You can learn more about ZoomSafer at their site here. Video of what ZoomSafer is and how it works after the break.