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Can't shut the phone down while driving? These apps will do it for you.

If you have been following our blog, you are familiar with the reasons drivers continue to text while driving: their belief that they can text safely while driving and the positive reinforcement the brain provides during cellphone use. Although the act of texting while driving is illegal in California and results in a fine for violating the law, a poll conducted by Distraction.gov found that 25 percent of teenagers admitted to texting while driving each time they get behind the wheel. Ten percent of adults also confessed to engaging in the practice.

Studies we reported in a previous blog provide the reason for our addiction to cellphone use even when we know that it is dangerous to text while driving. Upon hearing the ping of a text, the brain releases a flood of chemicals that deliver a feeling of excitement. In order to keep the good feelings coming, we need to keep texting to the detriment of our safety and the safety of others on the road.

Turning off the phone upon entering the car is a very easy solution to this problem; however, people fail to power down their phones for fear of missing an important message. Luckily, there is a way to communicate with others while driving without becoming distracted: cellphone blocking apps.

A review by Mashable provides a comprehensive review of apps available. Cellphone service providers, insurance companies and software makers have designed applications to reduce cellphone distractions in the car. Compatible with iOS and Android platforms, these applications are available for free or can be purchased through app stores:

1. DriveOFF

This application works for Android phones. Designed by Esure, the insurance company, the software detects when the car is driven at speeds higher than 10 miles per hour. When this speed is reached, the program shuts off distracting apps and blocks calls and texts. It displays a static image on the cellphone to reduce the temptation to glance at the phone.

2. DriveScribe

In addition to blocking calls and texts, the DriveScribe app will admonish drivers for driving too fast. For parents concerned about their children's driving habits, it can generate a driving report that can show if the driver was speeding or ignoring stop signs.

3. AT&T DriveMode

This application is available for free to AT&T subscribers. The software in this program automatically replies to incoming texts and calls indicating that the driver is currently engaged. Further reducing the temptation to reach for the phone, the app also silences text or call notifications.

In addition to these options, others may be used to supplement blocking apps. For example, the Wonder application sends texts to those on the cellphone owner's contact list to inform them that the cellphone owner is driving. Those receiving the notification must install the application into their phones as well.

Cellphone blocking apps were not designed solely with teenagers in mind. Many adults text while they are driving too. These apps can be used for all members in the household. While you may think that you can safely reply to a text in just ten seconds, recognize that a lot can happen in ten seconds. It's safer to keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.

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