70% of people in a recent survey admitted to using their phones while driving. 70% of people in a recent survey admitted to using their phones while driving. 70% of people in a recent survey admitted to using their phones while driving. (Photo: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock)

How to use your phone safely while driving

Don't get distracted with the help of these 5 apps and gadgets.

It appears those warnings about the dangers of cell phone use while driving are falling on deaf ears.

A recent survey conducted by AT&T found that 70 percent of drivers use their smartphones while operating vehicles. Texting and emailing are still most popular with drivers at 61 percent and 33 percent, respectively. But social media isn't far behind – 27 percent of drivers report checking Facebook, 14 percent admit to tweeting, and another 14 percent use Instagram. Also, 17 percent of drivers owned up to taking selfies while behind the wheel.

Some of the people polled will, of course, continue with their irresponsible ways, but for the rest of us who want to shape up, here are a few technologies to help:


i4drive, developed by an Israeli startup, utilizes advanced algorithms and video processing technology to transform your phone into a driving assistant. One of its functions automatically replies to incoming calls with an "I'm busy" message. Another function alerts you if you're following too close or if you're veering off the road.

Utter, developed in the U.K., is a app that allows you keep your eyes on the road without sacrificing the use of your phone. This voice recognition app is still in beta, but it's earned rave reviews since it was introduced last summer. It has many functions, but automatically sending text messages and placing calls, and doing it very quickly, are the most relevant.

DriveID comes from Cellcontrol, a U.S.-based company. It's a module, attached to the inside of the windshield, that uses censors to block the driver from using a phone, while allowing passengers to continue using their phones. Unlike many other apps and gadgets, which perform a similar function while blocking all the phones in the car, DriveID can sense whether the mobile device is on the right or left side of the moving car and block accordingly.

Agent is also American-made. The app has many functions, but most important is its ability to read text messages aloud and auto-respond to calls and messages. You can even create a list of high priority numbers to filter out any unnecessary interruptions during your drive.

The RayGo, a gadget created by another Israel-based startup, was originally made for the blind, but is equally effective for drivers. Unlike other hands-free devices that still require some attention, your phone all but vanishes with the RayGo. RayGo allows you to make phone calls, check texts, send emails and much more – through voice activation and a controller hooked onto the steering wheel.


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