Despite spendy penalties for scofflaws in New York State, I see people talking and texting while driving every day, usually when they’re going 17 miles under the speed limit in the left lane or blocking an exit ramp on the Southern State.
It’s difficult to avoid the distraction of your mobile phone, and people will text you several times if you don’t reply immediately. “Where R U?!?!” is generally followed by “OMG hello?” and “R U OK/mad?” all in the course of reaching a destination. I don’t know about your mom, but if I don’t reply immediately the first time she reaches out, she’ll just keep calling/texting until I do. Studies indicate that 81% of phone calls between me and my mom kick off with me asking “is everything alright?”
It used to be that there were periods of time where humans were unreachable. Whether while driving, in the bathroom, at the movies, shagging or between the hours of 9-6 when everyone was working, sometimes you didn’t have to get back in touch with someone immediately. While I personally do everything I can to combat the expectation that calls and texts are always urgent, sometimes you just need to get someone to STFU.
Enter Drivesafe.ly. This service, presently for Blackberries and Android phones and coming soon to iPhones and some Sprint gadget, reads your texts aloud to you when activated. (You don’t actually have to be driving while using it, so you can pretty much have all your texts read to you.) It works for e-mails, too, and if you’re transmitting to your car’s radio, you can hear your spouse reminding you to re-cap the toothpaste in vivid, clear surround sound. There are also auto-repliers, so you don’t have to type and drive to shut someone the hell up while you’re driving.
The app comes in both free and pro versions, with varying levels of functionality:
The basic version of DriveSafe.ly is free, and likely works well enough for most people. The free version reads up to 25 words per message and includes the optional text and e-mail auto-responder. The “pro” version reads up to 500 words per message, lets you choose between a female or male voice (the basic version has only the female voice) and lets you choose the voice used based on the gender of the person sending you a text or e-mail, and also includes the text and e-mail auto-responder. The pro version is available for a one-time fee of $13.95, or you can pay a $3.95 monthly subscription for it.
As I currently have an iPhone, I can’t give the app a spin(hurrr…) yet, but judging by the frantic e-mail from my ex-husband alerting me to the existence of it, perhaps I should as soon as it becomes available.