We all know that distracted driving is a huge problem. Recent statistics report that distracted drivers are responsible for 26% of all car accidents and thousands of lives per year. Sure, there are handsfree devices, voice-to-text, and other options available for when you just have to send that text while behind the wheel. But frankly, none of them are any good. Clearly it's not an easy problem to solve or we would have many workable solutions at our disposable by now. But clearly, we don't.
One app, messageLOUD is looking to change that. This is an app that will read your text messages for you. Upon entering your car, the app will ask if you want to go into Drive Mode. Once you're in Drive Mode, all of your SMS texts, WhatsApp messages, and emails are automatically read out loud (unless you customize your contacts to allow or ignore certain messages). You can then choose to delete or respond with simple swipes so that you can keep your eyes on the road. It even allows you to customize auto responses for incoming texts.
In addition to these features, they have recently released some new ones, just in time for Distracted Driving Awareness Month, which was in April. The app now follows “the Driving App Hierarchy,” in that it will pause music to read a message, but will pause itself in favor of directions from Google Maps or Waze. It knows how important directions are and how unimportant music is!
Of course, developing an app like this is not easy. As mentioned, if it was easy, we'd be flushed with options. According to Founder & CEO Garin Toren, the biggest challenge they faced in the development of messageLOUD was making sure that their app met all of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Guidelines.
‘The biggest challenge when designing and developing an app that is designed to eliminate distracted driving, was executing a strategy that meets not some, but all of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Guidelines for electronic device usage in a vehicle. As far as we are aware, ours is the only one that does so, while still allowing people to get their messages while driving.”
Whether this new app changes the way people drive or falls by the wayside of discarded hands-free technology, at least they are making an effort to find a solution to this problem. Here is a video that shows how messageLOUD works: