The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that 21 percent of crashes, or 1.2 million crashes, in 2012 involved talking on handheld or hands-free cell phones. Today’s technology has made it possible to do virtually anything from a mobile device. You can check your email, play games, check social media and search the web, all from your cell phone. These constant diversions are extremely dangerous for drivers – which is why the co-founders of the LifeSaver app, Mike Demele and Ted Chen, decided to do something about it.
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and many groups are working to bring attention to the dangers of distracted driving. The LifeSaver app is an easy-to-use way to keep your loved ones safe. “It helps drivers break their distracted driving addiction. We decided to help solve the [distracted driving] problem,” says Chen.
So how does it work? The LifeSaver app will constantly run on your cell phone and detect your speed as you drive. It puts a screen on the front of your phone (shown below) once you reach a certain speed while driving and prevents you from accessing any apps. The phone is also not able to make or receive calls until the car comes to a stop. (Emergency calls are still enabled.) The phone will unlock when the car is stopped or it can be configured to unlock up to 60 seconds after driving to discourage phone access at stoplights.
Chen explains, “We designed [the app] in a way so that the driver isn’t typically supposed to [be the one to] install it. Like with any addiction, you need someone to help you break that addiction.” Chen envisions that people will purchase the app for a friend, family member, co-worker or spouse. And, of course, you can download the app for yourself and create your own guidelines to suit your needs. The app allows your ‘sponsor,’ as Chen calls them, to monitor driving behavior and alerts them when the app is unlocked while driving. For example, through the app settings, the ‘sponsor’ can enable the driver to have a ‘passenger unlock’ feature. If the driver uses the ‘passenger unlock’ feature while driving, a text notification is sent to the ‘sponsor.’ This helps parents hold their teen drivers accountable.
The app is currently available on Android phones (with iPhones soon to follow), and is a simple download that does not interfere with normal smart phone functions.
Normally, the app has a one-time fee of $4.99 after a 30-day free trial. However, anyone who downloads the LifeSaver app during the month of April, will be able to use it for free.
In today’s face-paced lifestyle, people are constantly on the go. Whether you’re a professional driving to your two o’clock meeting or a teen driving to soccer practice, there is always somewhere to be. “We’ve seen legislation and law enforcement very slow to improve the situation,” says Chen. “We should start talking about technology solutions like ours and see what they can do for people.”
Chen adds, “Our goal is adoption and our mission is to solve this problem. I think this whole distracted driving epidemic has unprecedented awareness, there’s a ton of media and press about the problem. I think everyone who is a driver knows it’s a problem. But I’d like to get past the problem and start talking about the solution.”
Get more information on the LifeSaver App.