Texting while driving is incredibly unsafe (and making calls, for that matter). Even more so than drinking and driving, which YOU SHOULD NEVER DO, EVER. California knows it. The Obama Administration knows it. And apparently, the folks responsible for TXTBlocker know it.
What is TXTBlocker, you ask? It is a new service that “lets parents and employers customize cell phones to selectively disable texting functions, block certain numbers, or only permit incoming and outgoing calls to preset “safe lists” or emergency numbers.” In other words, its a personal, customizable Big Brother tool for mobile phones.
So how does it work? Good question — we’re not entirely sure ourselves. According to the official press release:
TXTBlocker uses proprietary velocity and geographic algorithms, so in addition to preventing dangerous use while driving, users may also set up ‘safe zones’ that do not allow distractions around focused areas such as schools or worksites.
TXTBlocker™ is completely customizable, allowing owners, parents or employers (or “administrators”) to turn certain functions on or off anytime. They simply log on to the website and choose custom settings to employ for specific phones. If turned on, TXTBlocker works automatically, so owners never have to remember to turn it on, and it allows for safety features so that phones can always make calls to 911 and receive calls from preset emergency numbers.
Hmm. To us, it sounds like every time you’re moving over a certain speed, you’re locked out of your phone. If it’s just accelerometer or GPS-based, it seems like TXTBlocker will fail miserably on buses, trains, or any time someone else is driving. But, we won’t really know how well it works until the service is launched during the “Fall of 2009.”
As for compatibility, head on over to TXTBlocker’s official list of supported devices to see if you can join in on the fun. Playing cell phone god will cost you $9.99/month plus the one-time software download and activation fee of $24.99 (which includes first month’s service fee and online installation support). Or you can opt for the family or enterprise packages, more info here.
All in all, this seems like a noble idea. We’ll have to see how well it works in practice before we make any final judgments. If it works in a way that doesn’t unnecessarily lockdown phones and isn’t insanely easy to work around, it’s good in our books.
[via Phone Scoop]