There's hardly a more unnecessary death than being run over by a busy driver who was texting "Where u at?" to a friend.
That's why a construction debris hauler in Concord has created an app that lets parents or employers disable their kids' and workers' ability to text message while behind the wheel.
Like curfews and chaperones, there's no doubt that Text Stop will piss off social teens everywhere. But that's too bad. Here is how it works: GPS will detect when the phone is moving at a speed faster than 10 miles per hour; at that point, the phone will disable its texting mechanism.
The app is now available on the Android market for $19.95, and will be available for iPhones within the next month.
Texting while driving is illegal in California, but that doesn't mean people aren't still doing it. A study
from University of North Texas Health Science Center estimated that
texting while driving caused more than 16,000 deaths -- or the size of a small town -- between 2001 and 2007.
"I drove trucks in the Army and was a colonel's chauffeur, and drove cabs in San Francisco when I was 25," Sam Nimer told SF Weekly.
"I drove for Muni. I'm as professional a driver as you'll find, and I
myself have almost been in accidents texting. A new driver has no
chance: They're going to hurt themselves or they're going to hurt
And don't think you can outsmart the app. Nimer says only the
administrator (i.e., a parent or employer) can text a
command to the phone to deactivate the Text Stop. That means parents will have to trust their kids when they say they are simply passengers in a car or on public transit.
Nimer plans to add a feature to the app that will allow
the user to talk on the phone via Bluetooth while a vehicle is moving faster than 10 mph.