TextNinja is the newest app to help fight distracted driving, but it is not the first to tackle this massive, social problem. The TextNinja solution seems to be doing at least a few things right, but how does it stack up next to some of the other apps for texting and driving?
There are several other solutions emerging on the market, and only some that are comparable to TextNinja. One leading solution, released all the way back in 2011, is AT&T’s DriveMode. It is definitely one of the more popular apps, but popularity does not always equate to effectiveness.
AT&T also started long ago, and continues to run, one of the most compelling and effective awareness campaigns in the industry. The “It Can Wait” campaign is a great resource in the battle against distracted driving. Since TextNinja is fighting the same battle, the competition and comparison is only in terms of product, not awareness promotion.
The AT&T DriveMode app offers to silence text messages and auto-reply to texts. Once the app is turned on it activates whenever you’re traveling faster than 15mph, and it uses GPS to register that speed. For parents it allows them to set a maximum speed, area on a map within which drivers are allowed to travel, and alerts which notify when the app is turned off or if the phone is being used while it is engaged.
Now on the face of it, these features seem suitable, right? But in comparison with TextNinja?
For starters, DriveMode has to be activated manually. The type of person that is likely to always remember to silence their phone will not be the first to text while driving. TextNinja pairs and interacts with your car through an OBD Bluetooth device and will automatically activate when your car is moving, so there is no need to remember to turn it on.
TextNinja will be active as long as your car is on and the engine is in ‘drive’. Most other solutions (including DriveMode), assuming they’ve been turned on, will be active when your phone is traveling faster than 15mph. This means that if you’re on a train, airplane, bus, or any other fast moving vehicle and forgot to turn your app off, you could find that your phone’s notifications have also been turned off.
This also means that the app will not always be active when you’re driving. All that stop-and-go traffic, or slow rolling stops, or parking lot driving will not be affected. This opens up plenty of opportunities to be receiving lots of notifications as the driver slows down and feels safer and even more compelled to check and respond.
And for those who are often frustrated by having low batteries on their phones? Using GPS is the quickest way to kill your battery.
Another compelling aspect of TextNinja is that it isn’t intrusive. It might seem beneficial to have data collected and tracked about driving speed, locations driven to, and how frequently the app is turned off or ignored, but for teens it could be frustrating to know that everywhere they go is being tracked. As more and more of our information is shared, interests are targeted, and locations are tracked, it is important to choose your battles wisely. Teenagers could easily feel mistrusted by all the monitoring of a new freedom.
TextNinja believes that where you’re going and how fast you’re going to get there is your business. It will register if you ignore the app and text while driving, and those reports can be generated and sent to parents, but the app isn’t using your GPS and it isn’t tracking where you’re driving. If there is doubt or mistrust there, it can be validated or invalidated, but TextNinja doesn’t monitor or discipline. This opens up an excellent opportunity for parents and teens to talk about the real dangers of texting and driving and to build up trust about this and other driving habits.
So, unlike AT&T DriveMode and other solutions, TextNinja doesn’t track you or collect your data, drain your battery, or run inconsistently. AND on top of that, TextNinja offers additional features worth noting. The texting and driving app is focused on positive incentives which give a reason (for everyone but especially the aforementioned teens) to WANT to drive safely. With added rewards and gamification, TextNinja is just more fun! Achievements, social media badges, and ninja belts break up the monotony and help make the TextNinja app engaging.
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