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Make your car a text-free zone

By Jay MacDonald ·
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Posted: 6 am ET

So you realize that texting and driving is dangerous. Maybe you're aware that cellphone fidgeting has surpassed drunken driving as the leading cause of teen driving deaths, killing more than 3,000 teens a year. But, try as you might, you just can't put down your smartphone when you're behind the wheel.

Entrepreneurs have come up with a few anti-texting solutions that should prove popular with auto insurance companies and parents alike.

A 'Quiet Zone' in your car

Brandon Butts, a 26-year-old computer repair tech from Zephyrhills, Fla., has invented a device he calls Quiet Zone Drive that automatically blocks texting while driving.

Once the $330 thumb-drive-size device is permanently installed or plugged into a vehicle's cigarette lighter, it bars texting from any phone that 's on board, as long as the phone has downloaded the free Quiet Zone app.

Quiet Zone Drive is the road version of a similar product called Quiet Zone Hush that Butts developed in January for theaters, churches and doctor's offices in January. The stationary version automatically puts phones that have downloaded the app into silent mode when they come within range of locations using the device. Phones without the app are unaffected.

A 'movement' to muzzle cellphone use?

There are also free smartphone apps available to keep you from texting while driving, though they rely on you to be a little more active against your potentially bad behavior. For example, you have to turn on Text No More when you get behind the wheel, and it then stops all incoming text messages and automatically tells senders: "(Your name) is driving and cannot reply." The app offers coupons and other rewards when texts are successfully blocked.

Quiet Zone's site says stopping texting and driving has become a full-fledged movement.

"Everyone knows that cellphones have become the most invasive distraction of our time ... Quiet Zone reminds users to be in the moment -- to put down their smartphones when it really matters, and give full attention to their surroundings."

Onboard devices are catching on

My hunch is, Butts and other developers may soon be deluged by orders from parents and calls from forward-thinking auto insurance companies that are just beginning to explore the marketing potential of vehicle monitoring technology.

Progressive's Snapshot onboard monitoring program, the most visible example so far of this nascent industry trend, offers drivers the potential to lower their rates by demonstrating good driving behaviors.

As a similar onboard consumer option, Quiet Zone Drive might one day not only save you money -- it could also save your life.

Follow me on Twitter: @omnisaurus

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Jay MacDonald is a Bankrate contributing editor and co-author of "Future Millionaires' Guidebook," an e-book by Bankrate editors and reporters.

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June 12, 2013 at 1:53 pm


June 12, 2013 at 11:50 am

I have two teenage kids that I spend lots of time with in the car. My phone is next to me, it rings for a call or chimes for a text, it stays put. Sometimes I have the kids answer or reply because it has to do with where we are going. I believe the commercials on TV and I don't want to be one of those families. I need to teach my kids by example. Honestly about two years ago I was on the phone while driving with my son in the car. Someone pulled up next to me and yelled expletives to get off the phone. I yelled back but realized quickly he was right. I told my son that and quit that day.

June 12, 2013 at 11:26 am

Talking on the phone while driving is JUST as bad because there are more of those idiots out there. One day I was almost involved in 5 accidents while they were on the phone.

June 12, 2013 at 8:26 am

Yes, there are people who do have their phones on while in church and text while in church. Texting is a very serious problem when driving. I have been in cars were people text and drive, very scary. I did ask them to stop and they did. I asked the person, what is so important that you have to text and drive. They had no answer.
Maybe the newer cars and phones they are making should come with something already that blocks texting.
But I agree a software that helps stop texting is worth having.

June 12, 2013 at 7:59 am

Question is:
Do you have your phone on when your in church?
Enought said.
Maybe when your laid out in a coffin you could put a phone in the hand or next to the body of the person, to remind others, when the phone rings or a message comes in that a recording states what happened.
( Sorry but I can not answer due to dieing while on the phone ) or
( My burial is today do to texing while driveing. )

John B
June 12, 2013 at 7:53 am

I agree with anti texting I would like to see this in every new
cadr $300.00 is cheap compared to a life

June 12, 2013 at 7:39 am

I've seen mothers with children in the baby chairs texting. It's truly ridiculous. What they need to do is single out the frequencies the texts are sent on and get a signal jammer placed in cars. It's unfortunate that common sense is thrown out the window so easily when it comes to driving.

June 12, 2013 at 6:35 am

Any hardware or software that can disable texting while in a motor vehicle has my support! Talk about distracted driving! We keep seeing and hearing about teenage driving and texting; however, I've seen quite a few young adults texting and driving too! Driving a two ton vehicle has got to be the only priority on a driver's mind - case closed!

June 12, 2013 at 4:50 am

Let me know when someone develops a device that melts the phone when it is used for texting while driving. Seriously, I wish there as some way to interrupt phone signals in all automobiles. Just get in your car and DRIVE.

Lorrye Harden
June 12, 2013 at 1:23 am