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Scottsdale  •  Phoenix

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Ford partners with Life360 to fight distracted driving

At any given moment across America, an estimated 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, according to the NHTSA. As a result, many car companies are working toward a safer driving experience. Ford is now partnering with Life360, a family location services startup. The plan is to offer in-car use of Life360 and its new “Drive Mode” feature, notifying friends and family when a user is driving.

Tech Crunch reports that in 2012, 3,328 people were killed in what the Department of Transportation calls “distraction-affected crashes.” Ford and Life360 hopes to lessen this number. It works by connecting a driver’s smartphone to Ford’s SYNC system. This allows users to navigate apps and communicate via their smartphone while driving. When connected, SYNC notifies Life360 that the user s in a vehicle. This prompts Life360 to switch to Drive Mode, sending a message to everyone in the driver’s circle suggesting that they not text the driver. When the user is no longer in the car, a follow up message is sent notifying the user’s circle.

Even better, if a user asks Life360, “Where is Dad?” or “Cindy’s location” the system pinpoints the person’s location on a map and offers a location address. As you can imagine, this is a great app for parents with teenagers.

Of course, Life360 is not the only app on the market to help fight distracted driving. Here are 5 more apps you may want to consider:

TXtBlocker: This app allows parents to limit where and when texts can be sent and received. It also lets you track a phone’s location via the Internet. It costs about $7 per month and works with iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android.

TeenSafer: This is a software for smartphone and tablets that detects when a vehicle is in motion. When it detects motion, it automatically puts the device in “safe mode,” blocking access to the keyboard and screen. All notifications and alerts are silenced, including incoming calls, texts and emails.

SafeCellapp: Available for iPhone, Android or BlackBerry, this app disables calls, emails and messaging functions on smartphones. Activation is $11.99 with a recurring annual fee.

Vehawk: An ideal app for parents who want to monitor their teen, this app tracks driver cellphone usage during a trip and sends notifications to the account holder when texting while driving has been detected. The account holder can also access detailed maps of each route, each text or call that was made during the trip and where it was made, as well as speeding. This app reads text messages and emails aloud in real time and automatically responds without drivers touching their cell phone. The only catch with this app is you have to go in before every trip and turn it on. However, for a free app, it’s a great option for many.

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