San Diego, CA, Aug. 26, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- (http://www.myprgenie.com) -- A new mobile application that prevents a driver from initiating text messages and phone calls on a smart phone is being previewed at the annual Governors Highway Safety Association conference here, where several hundred traffic safety officials from throughout the nation are addressing distracted driving and other key safety issues.
Life Apps LLC, a Silicon Valley-based mobile app developer, is introducing the LifeSaver app, which will be available to all Android users in the fall of 2013. The app installs and configures in seconds and runs in the background, triggering only when it detects the car is in motion. When triggered, it locks the phone in less than five seconds, preventing it from being used for calls, texting, emails and other applications, with the exception of inbound calls and GPS navigation, which can be used in the locked mode. When the car comes to a stop, LifeSaver unlocks the phone after a period of between five and 60 seconds, as configured by the parent or loved one. A beta version is currently available on the Google Play marketplace on a free 30-day trial basis, followed by a one-time optional renewal fee of $4.99. An iPhone version will be available later this year.
Traffic safety officials continue to struggle with the skyrocketing incidence of smart phone use and texting while driving, which is estimated to be a factor in crashes that killed more than 3,300 people and injured 387,000 in 2011. Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood called distracted driving "a serious and deadly epidemic on America's roadways." He spurred efforts to enact anti-texting and driving laws, backed by enforcement and education campaigns.
Although 39 states and the District of Columbia currently ban text messaging for all drivers, many Americans admit to texting and cellphone use while driving.
Recent surveys showed:
- Almost half of teen drivers said they answer incoming calls
- One in four are willing to place a call while driving
- 49 percent of adults and 43 percent of teens admit to texting or emailing while behind the wheel
- A texting driver is 23 times more likely to be in a crash
Sending or receiving a text takes a driver's eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds, while the car, at highway speed, travels more than the length of a football field.
"Despite laws and vigorous public dialogue about the dangers of texting and driving, people continue to use their smart phones at the wheel," said Ted Chen, Co-Founder of Life Apps. "The LifeSaver app incorporates proprietary technology coupled with a system that allows parental monitoring and the possibility of earning rewards as a way to train teens and all drivers to change their behavior by not reaching for their smart phone while they are behind the wheel."
According to Chen, the new app enables parents or other loved ones to control and monitor driving behavior. The emergency and passenger unlock features allow the phone to be unlocked for emergency or passenger use, however a parent or loved one is notified by a text message if the feature is used. These features can be enabled or disabled by a parent or loved one.
"If a teen has been a safe driver," Chen noted, "a parent can reward him or her by configuring the app to be less restrictive with unlock features.
The app detects driving using advanced technologies such as GPS, Accelerometer and, soon, OBD2 and employs patent pending innovations to greatly reduce battery consumption while allowing the app to be transparently 'running' during common driving hours.
Life Apps is developing partner relationships for the LifeSaver app, with customized versions that can address the specific needs of each partner's driver audience. There are also options for users to be rewarded for good driving behavior with discounts or special offers from partners such as auto insurers, gasoline retailers and online retailers.
Life Apps LLC is the creator of the LifeSaver mobile application. The company was founded by Ted Chen and Mike Demele, Silicon Valley veterans in the consumer Internet and enterprise software sectors with industry leaders such as AOL, Oracle, PeopleSoft and Yahoo! For more information, visit www.lifesaver-app.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.