Software plays cell-phone nanny

Originally published April 19, 2009 New software aims to neutralize the dangers of using mobile phones while driving, via a mechanism that prevents and controls incoming and outgoing calls. DriveAssist will be offered next year through major wireless carriers. The technology was developed by Canadian tech company Aegis Mobility in conjunction with Nationwide Insurance. Nationwide customers will receive a discount of up to 5% for using the software. “Research has confirmed that the distraction associated with cell phone use is much more dangerous than originally suspected,” said Aegis … [Read more...]

iPhones and driving: Caution in order

The iPhone 3G does a lot of amazing things, but voice dialing isn't one of them. This means that drivers have to somehow use the virtual keyboard to dial out, a dubious proposition safety-wise. What makes dialing extra tricky is the iPhone's lack of raised buttons, which help the tactile figure out where the number keys are located. This hitch gives both iPhones safety issues beyond the usual driving-while-talking problems. Most decent cell phones have voice dialing. The iPhone, curiously, does not. Ooops. And these guys live in California! "(Lack of) voice dialing is a serious … [Read more...]

Hands-free tech: the basics

Yes, you'll look like an extra on "Star Trek." No, people will not think you're hip or cutting-edge. In fact, you just may be mistaken for a crazy person. The Bluetooth era has begun in earnest, as California's car culture is forced into buying hands-free devices in order to continue using cellular phones in their vehicles. The California cell phone laws went into effect July 1, 2008. State after state, we'll see drivers confronting the same prohibitions on yakking while motoring. There are, of course, lower-priced options to Bluetooth's 100 percent wireless technology, such as … [Read more...]