Text while driving in Osceola County — or anywhere in Florida — and you could face a fine or a ticket.
The new state law that reached the enforcement stage on Jan. 1 is all in the name of safety, since it’s important to give full attention to piloting a 3,000-pound vehicle around walkers, cyclists and other drivers.
So to enhance your safety while driving — and avoid a “government-subsidy, revenue-sharing coupon” — here’s a list of some smartphone apps that can help avoid distracted driving:
AT&T DriveMode: this Android app allows one music and one navigation app to run while activated, and text messages get an automated response.
Drivemode: a free app for iPhone and Android, it gives the user the ability to change features on the home screen to minimize distractions. It enlarges the buttons for navigation tools like Waze or Google Maps and offers a voice-control feature.
DriveSafe.ly: it reads text messages and emails from Android and Blackberry devices aloud in real time and can automatically respond without drivers needing to touch the smartphone. It’s free but has a paid Pro version.
LifeSaver: This app for iPhone and Android has auto-responses for texts and calls to cut down on distractions, and features optional trip status updates and safe arrival notifications. There are optional rewards to help push drivers to practice safer habits. Includes a “Tag a Texter” feature for passengers to crowdsource texting drivers, to warn others.
Ping (formerly messageLOUD, paid app, $12.99 per year): For iPhone and Android, announces text messages and emails while driving. The app also lets drivers acknowledge or dismiss notifications with simple swipes.
TextDrive: Android only, the app can decline calls or let certain numbers through, and can enable a temporary “do not disturb” mode.
TRUCE (paid app): Formerly Cellcontrol, this app for iPhone and Android takes mobile device management beyond your vehicle. It can restrict access at job sites as well as letting devices function only when certain conditions are met, such as when a certain piece of equipment has to be powered off for a phone to unlock.
Be a safer driver, and make a positive difference in Osceola County!