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Iowa DOT to launch mobile phone app to curb texting during driving; will be free for teens age 14 to 17

Teens - and adults - text and drive commonly at this time.
Teens – and adults – text and drive commonly at this time.

AMES – To promote driver safety, the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced the planned release of a mobile phone app that will disable text and phone capabilities once a speed of 15 mph is reached.

Text messaging and mobile phones are a popular method for individuals to communicate – even when driving, which has led the Iowa Department of Transportation to develop its TXTL8R app. The app that is being developed to encourage safe driver behavior will be released in early 2014.

To promote save driving habits from the start, the Iowa DOT is planning to cover the app cost for Iowa drivers 14 to 17 years old.

Currently, the Iowa DOT is working to secure a third-party company to develop the app. Once a vendor has been chosen, the final functionality will be decided. However, the proposed recommendations include the following.

  •  The app would temporarily disable text and phone capabilities once a speed of 15 mph is reached.
  •  People texting the driver will be sent a message that the driver is unavailable and will read the text once they’ve reached their location
  •  The app would also establish a secure portal that will allow individuals to monitor the app holder’s driving behaviors by providing graphic, route specific reports that document behaviors, such as speeding, excessive deceleration, and failure to stop at stop signs.

iowadotlogoThe TXTL8R app will be offered to all Iowa drivers on a voluntary basis. The Iowa DOT will not have access to the individual driving data or history of any individual using the app, but will receive data with all individual information removed for safety research and analysis only.

Iowa law prohibits all motor vehicle drivers from using a hand-held electronic communication device, including temporarily mounted devices to write, send or read a text message while driving.  Minors holding an instruction permit, intermediate license, minor’s school license, or minor’s restricted license are also prohibited from using all electronic communication devices, including cell phones or an electronic entertainment device, while driving.

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If you can not talk and drive at the same time- for one you should not be driving and two you’d best never have a passenger in the car cuz I’m sure you will talk to them and probly take your eyes off the road to look at them too.

Easily over 50% of the vehicles I see drive by our house each day are either texting or talking on the phone. Another 40% are putting on makeup or even reading while they drive. Very damn few slow down or look when driving through the intersection. I have seen some very bad accidents up here and it is just a matter of time before the next one. Combine that with the speeders and the guys on motorcycles trying to see how fast they can go before the next corner and it will happen.

We need something for everyone. Everybody you meet is on the phone. You can see by the look on their face, talking is the first priority. Not driving. It ought to be against the law.

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