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Smartphone Apps Can Help Prevent Distracted Driving Accidents

Texting while driving is a menace on roads in Tennessee and across the country. Over 30 states have passed some form of ban on texting or excessive cell-phone use. But car accidents caused by distracted driving are still far too frequent.

Could it be however, that technology could be used to fight technology? A new smartphone app may offer the ability to disable the ability of a phone to text whenever the app senses that the phone is moving at a rate of over 10 miles an hour.

New York Times tech columnist Bob Tedeschi tested the new app this week and was impressed with its performance. It is called PhoneGuard and is available for both Android and Blackberry phones. Tedeschi wrote that if he had text-prone teens, he would not hesitate to have this added to their phones.

The app works by using GPS technology. It pings GPS satellites in order to determine whether the phone is located in a moving vehicle. If it is, texting capacity and other phone apps are disabled. A message will appear on the screen saying "No Texting Vehicle," though the phone will still have the capacity to received calls.

For people who are passengers in the car, it is possible to contact the administrator to have the disabling app disabled. Yes, you read that right: to have the disabled app disabled. The app works, you see, by being always on - the user doesn't have to remember to push a button before getting in the car.

Of course, as Tedeschi points out, resourceful, tech-savvy teens could conceivably delete the app, then reinstall it later. But clearly such apps have a role to play in preventing distracted driving accidents.

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