The heightened concern over cell phones distracting drivers has led to several products that can either block or delay phone calls and text messages while the driver is behind the wheel. One app, called Cell Cease, targets parents of teenage drivers who use smartphones.
Cell Cease works only on a phone that runs on Windows Mobile and has GPS. If the app detects the phone moving faster than 5 mph, it blocks the ability to send or receive most phone calls, with the exception of 911 and specially allowed numbers that parents can program. The software operates on a PIN code that parents can guard.
There are some very obvious, very notable downsides to Cell Cease that will prove vexing to other software developers and cell phone-makers trying to tackle the same problem. For instance, Cell Cease eats up battery life, reducing usable time by 20%, but that’s nothing compared with the inconvenience posed by the 5 mph limit. Cell Cease can’t tell why you’re moving faster than 5 mph, so if you’re on a boat, plane, train, bus, walking fast or even the passenger in a car, the phone will still be nothing more than a pretty paperweight.