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Last-Minute Gift Ideas for Safe Driving

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What's Inside the Wrapped Gift Present?For last-minute shoppers who want to help make the roads a safer place, following are some gift ideas.

In, Jill Duffy recommends smartphone apps to help prevent distracted driving.

The free app, AT&T DriveMode, for Android and BlackBerry, is designed to keep a driver’s attention on the road. Once it is enabled (by a tap before the person starts driving), it automatically replies to any text message with one saying the recipient is driving and can’t take the message right now.

It also silences any audio tones that indicate messages are coming in, whether they are text messages, emails, or phone calls. And it blocks Web browsing and outgoing calls, except emergency calls. The app always allows 911 calls to be made, as well as five phone numbers the driver specifies.

Sprint Drive First, for Android and BlackBerry, locks the cell phone when the vehicle is moving faster than 10 miles per hour. When in use, this app automatically sends incoming calls to voicemail, and it silences incoming text message and email audio tones. And like DriveMode, it sends automatic responses to incoming text messages.

This app restores all functions to normal when it detects that the car has stopped for a few minutes. Parents of teens using this app can choose to be notified when and if the driver unlocks it and stops it from working. Sprint Drive First costs $2 per phone per month, and a subscription is required.

While Not Driving, by JaredCo, for BlackBerry, is a free app that uses GPS to launch automatically when it is in a moving vehicle, and puts the phone into sleep mode. The phone returns to normal operating mode automatically when the car stops. It is easy to override it so that passengers can use their devices. It can be set up to send an email automatically to someone like a parent or employer when the app is overridden.

Key2SafeDriving, for Android is a Bluetooth-enabled gadget that connects to a phone and blocks drivers from using their phone while driving. It does not allow texting or calling. Instead, it sends automatic responses to incoming text messages, sends incoming calls into voicemail, and allows emergency calls to be made.

Because it is a device rather than an app, it is much harder to disable. It allows the user to opt for a hands-free mode. It records data, such as if an attempt has made to tamper with it, and makes it possible for parents or others to monitor phone activity while the vehicle is being driven. It sells for $99.95.

And as this blog reported back in August, there is also PhoneGuard’s free Drive Safe app for Android and Blackberry smartphones, which disables a smartphone’s texting capability whenever the phone is in a vehicle moving more than 10 miles an hour:

The Drive Safe app, which is always on, works by pinging GPS satellites every few seconds to sense when the phone is in a moving vehicle, then disables the texting function. If you attempt to send a text message — or open any other app — while in a moving vehicle, a ‘No Texting Vehicle’ message appears on the phone’s screen.

The app also prevents you from making calls, but does allow you to answer the ones coming in. The app will automatically allow texting and other data functions to resume when the car is stopped for more than five seconds, however. Any missed text messages will be waiting for the user. Once the user starts driving again, the software will automatically block these activities again.

Outside of apps, Jenn Harrie, writing in The Chronicle Herald’s Wheels about gifts for “everyday drivers,” recommends roadside safety kits and gift certificates for automotive services that keep a car in good running order, like oil changes. And in a gift guide for car enthusiasts, she suggests giving a gift certificate for lessons to improve a person’s driving:

It’s often said that the best modification you can make to the car is to become a better driver.

There are a variety of options available to get some high performance driving education. […]

[T]he Skip Barber Driving School offers gift certificates for their driving school offerings, including anything from high performance driving to full out racing.

They range in price, depending on the type and duration of the school, and not all schools are available in all locations.

Skip Barber schools start at about $700 (on sale)… Check out for details.

Finally, gift-givers who want to go all-out could give as a gift one of the cars the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named as one of the safest 2012 models, as this blog reported recently. There are many to choose from.

Wishing you and your family a happy and safe holiday!

Image by daveynin, used under its Creative Commons license.


My daughter and I first consulted with Dan Rosen after a very serious auto accident. Dan had several phone conferences with me, and Tracie was available whenever I called. We would recommend personal injury attorney Dan Rosen to anyone!
Sally from Denver, Colorado

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