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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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Doc Leitzer
June 12, 2013 at 9:31 pm

I E-Mailed APPLE About A Safe Phone, And Have Not Heard From Anyone. It's Simple. Install A GPS In The Phone To Turn All Texts And Calls Off when Moving In A Car Over 10 MPH. It Will Auto Come Back On Line Under 10 MPH.I Called It The SAFE PHONE. No One Could Texr Or Call, Period. While In Any Vehicle. They Would Have To Talked To Each Other. Wouldn;t That Be Something?

Pat Volk
June 12, 2013 at 9:20 pm

Why is it necessary ? One should drive as if his or her or another person's life depended on it.Driving requires that the driver pay attention. In spite of misinformation on the subject multi-tasking is not possible.

June 12, 2013 at 9:19 pm

I do believe that all phones are already capable of blocking any communication while driving. It's called AIRPLANE MODE and you have to use it when you fly and should also use it when you drive.
I have my voicemail tell people that if I don't answer chances are I am driving and my phone is in AIRPLANE MODE so if it's important leave a message and I will get back to you when I'm not driving.

I have lost a friend to text driving.

Shawn Kelly
June 12, 2013 at 7:55 pm

I do believe that some kind of service is needed to block texting and driving. It can be dangerous, i have found myself doing this and finding the side of a road. We all cannot say we don't do it. We all have done it at least once. And the only idea that I can come up with is, Most of our new phones are GPS enabled. How hard would it be for are cell phone carriers or someone who designs software for phone apps, to simply make our cell phones shut down receiving text messaging automatically when it see's the phone traveling over 20 mph. this then would be helpful to most parents out there. and us of course who attempt to text while driving. I do think that this app. would become very popular quickly. because its something we wouldn't have to do or worry about turning on or off.

June 12, 2013 at 6:47 pm

As I read some of these posts, I couldn't help but wonder if we really need more government involvement. Do we really think that kids (or parents) are going to download an app and keep that app on the phone? Some insurance companies are keeping tabs on how safe a driver is and giving that person a discount. I would have thought that insurance companies would lead the charge on getting some sort of permanent blocking mechanism in place. Driving and texting is just the new version of DWI, except that you don't have to be 21 to legally text. (I am NOT an advocate for that)

June 12, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Only let teens drive manual transmission cars. If they are driving a stick they have to pay attention to the engine/rpm and gears/transmission while their hands are busy. Cars are too easy to drive and allows people to loose focus on what they should be doing.

June 12, 2013 at 5:29 pm

I drive A truck for fedex, we use A scanner that records our deliveries & pickups, we are also able to get & reply to text messages from the terminal, but if our truck is in motion we can't read or do anything on the scanner.
So my point is, if the Government would require all messaging devices to have this, the problem would be solved period.

June 12, 2013 at 2:54 pm

People suffer from the delusion that driving is a right. It it NOT a right. It is a privilege. That privilege is dependant on a person being 1. willing and 2. able to adhere to the rules and requirements established by law; one of which is driving safely.

Tecting while driving has been proven to be unsafe. If you are not able to refrain from texting while driving, you should have your license revoked or suspended until you are willing to comply

June 12, 2013 at 2:46 pm

I've seen a lot of people do a lot of stupid things including flipping off a trooper then running a red light all because they were too busy talking on the phone when the light turned green.
But, on the other hand, there are people that can do 2 or 3 things at once and do them well. Some people can't chew gum and walk at the same time.
It gets down to simply knowing your limitations, something most drivers are unaware of. I once heard a German say "Most Americans don't know how to drive, they only know how to aim. In Germany you have to prove you can drive to get a license."
Well said. If they were to give a true, on the road driving test where I live, at least 2/3rd of the population would fail. They have no idea of what "right-of-way" means and don't think for one second they pull over for emergency vehicles. Some treat traffic light as if they were left over Christmas decorations.

June 12, 2013 at 2:31 pm

The only time I regularly have my ringtone on is when i am driving, I have different ringtones for texts and calls and for imporant people. If I think it might be important I PULL OVER. Its not that hard!

Its not cool. Its dangerous.