Talk to Your Mobile for Texting While Driving

A new application aims to address distracted driving problem with eyes- and hands-free text messaging on mobile phones. Boston-based AdelaVoice has launched StartTalking, claimed to be the world’s first smartphone application that lets motorists keep their eyes on the road and hands upon the wheel.

It is a known fact that texting drivers of any age can create a hazard on the roads. A recent campaign targets young, inexperienced motorists who also are generally the most prolific users of wireless text messaging.

Verizon Wireless and the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) have launched the “Danger Thumbs” campaign to make the state’s roads safer by urging young Florida drivers to stop texting on their wireless phones when behind the wheel. (Read: Danger Thumbs Campaign to Target Texting Drivers)

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As texting is among the most popular mobile apps, LG hosts a texting contest. Recently, thirteen year-old Brianna Hendrickson won the LG U.S. National Texting Championship with $50,000. (Read: How Brianna Used Her Thumbs to Win $50,000)

Leading fleet safety company SmartDrive Systems has released its SmartDrive Distracted Driving Index, a quarterly benchmark of commercial fleet driving distraction rates. It says for the quarter ending June 30, 2010, the incidence of distracted driving among new drivers was 11.8%, a 9% increase in the distraction rate reported in Q1 2010. (Read: Distracted Driving on the Rise, Says SmartDrive)

And according to the latest study from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), most drivers who use cell phones consider safety their number one priority when in an automobile. (Read: Safety No. 1 Priority for Cell Phone Users)

To ensure safety, StartTalking addresses the issue of distracted driving throughout the entire process of composing, sending and receiving text messages, removing the visual and physical distractions normally associated with text messaging, the company says.

It further says the app operates with the mobile phone’s display screen off, further reducing distractions while enhancing battery life.

StartTalking is voice-controlled. Users simply speak commands, dictate messages and listen to messages without having to touch any button or look at a screen.

Users speak their phone’s pre-assigned name, which “wakes up” the handset and initiates a dialog through which the user dictates and sends text messages.

Currently in open beta, StartTalking works with smartphones running Android 2.0 or later and is now available for download from the Android Market or by using an Android phone’s browser to visit

Visitors using personal computers to the StartTalking website can also send an SMS download link to their Android phone. StartTalking works with wired headsets or the Android handset’s speakerphone function.

“We created StartTalking to minimize the physical and visual interactions normally associated with creating, sending and receiving text messages,” said Chris Hassett, AdelaVoice CEO.

In addition to sending traditional text messages, StartTalking supports creating audio recordings in a user’s voice and sends them through AdelaVoice’s Short Voice Service (SVS) to a smartphone.

The recipient hears the message in the sender’s own voice. SVS messages represent a very personal way to extend text messaging and, by definition, are always 100 percent accurate, claims the company.

The application was introduced today, Sept. 30.

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Rakesh Raman