Safely Driving With Our BlackBerry and Our Loved Ones In Mind

October 5, 2009 | By | 5 Comments


I’m trying out a few applications for the BlackBerry that promise to help with being a responsible driver. One is and the other is zoomsafer. I know statistics say there’s quite a few drivers who text, I can make an educated guess it’s more. We all know someone who does it.

We all love our BlackBerry, and sometimes we are so caught up we cannot help ourselves, and it’s hard to draw the line where it is excessive, especially when we are so used to multitasking. Well, today I saw a movie titled “Seven Pounds”, and of course the main character you find out at the end received a message on his BlackBerry and his looking at his phone instead of the road caused his accident which killed seven people. It really affected me, not to mention caused my daughter to look at me with a raised eyebrow since my BlackBerry and I are inseparable. So I went to search for applications that will help me to more responsible. Not that I text while I drive, but I’m usually fortunate to have my daughter as a passenger who is quick to grab my phone when it dings and can answer for me. But this would help make life easier and assure her that I am responsible even when she isn’t in the passenger seat, not to mention show her I want to be a role model and show her I want her to do the same.

The two apps are and zoomsafer. Both apps are free or have a free version. is actually available in the BlackBerry Sync Store as well. The description of is as follows: automatically reads incoming text messages and emails out loud so you can concentrate on the road. Eliminate the temptation to reach for your phone by letting read to you and optionally auto-respond for you.
Stay connected by listening to your messages without texting while driving or reading emails in your car. is the answer to texting while driving TWD .

It is free to use
Automatically plays incoming text SMS and email messages
Play messages on demand through menu
No complicated software to install easy to use
Small footprint lightweight app does not slow down your phone
Customizable auto-response and timeout duration
Human sounding text to speech powered by
It is free to use
Automatically plays incoming text SMS and email messages
Play messages on demand through menu
No complicated software to install easy to use
Small footprint lightweight app does not slow down your phone
Customizable auto-response and timeout duration
Human sounding text to speech powered by

For even more functionality download Pro – also available on BlackBerry® App World. Pro adds the ability to use additional voices, listen to text messages and emails without sponsor messages and much more!

This app is compatible with BlackBerry devices that have OS 4.5 and up.

There is a paid, a one time fee and monthly fee version available.

The free one includes:

Reads up to 25 words per message

Female voice only

Optional text and email auto-responder

Easily upgradable to Pro

The one time fee of $13.95 includes:

Low one-time charge for lifetime of phone

Reads up to 500 words per message

Choice of female or male voice

Auto-select voice by contact gender

Optional text and email auto-responder

The monthly is the same as above, but charges a monthly fee of $3.95.

With ZoomSafer, it’s available by signing up on line, and the text is sent to the phone. You are able to choose 3 designated contacts who may call you while you drive and who can receive notification when you drive and stop. The scary thing is that it’s a proven fact statistics show that 80% of crashes involve driver distraction. It’s a concerning issues, so much that President Obama has banned texting for all Federal employees. We’re making changes, but it’s not enough. We as adults, are the examples to our children and our teens. We need to start paying more attention, and software such as these can make a difference.

ZoomSafer’s description is as follows:

ZoomSafer is patented software for mobile phones that prevents distracted driving by helping motorists make better decisions.  The service automatically activates when you’re driving and applies a policy that determines what you can/can’t do with your phone.  Plus, ZoomSafer leverages psychological and social factors to encourage you to make good choices — and it can even remind you that there may be criminal and financial consequences for making bad choices.

By helping people make better choices when driving – ZoomSafer can successfully:

modify behavior

reduce risk of crash

reduce risk of liability

save lives/money

Right now ZoomSafer is in stage one of the beta and it includes:

Auto speed detection – ZoomSafer detects when you start to drive and automatically activates.’

Safety Announcements – A recorded message plays when ZoomSafer activates reminding you to drive safely.  We’ve pre-recorded several announcements for the Beta, but in phase 2 of the beta you’ll be able to record your own custom announcements as well as choose from several Celebrity Safety Announcements.

Auto-Toots – These are messages sent on your behalf to friends, families, and social networks to tell them when you’ve started and stopped driving.  These updates are OPTIONAL and can be sent via SMS or E-mail to up to three contacts.  You can also update Facebook or Twitter with these notifications.

Keyboard Locking – Your keypad will be locked when ZoomSafer is active (driving mode) except for: (1) the “Close” soft key exits the application when you have stopped driving or if you are a passenger. (2) Calling 911 (on the Storm, this will be a soft key and all other Blackberry models, you can press 9-1-1) and (3) the Voice Dialer left hand convenience key – For this initial Beta, we are allowing you to use the native voice dialing application on Blackberrys to make outbound calls. In the future this feature will only be available as part of the ZoomMate premium service.

Three Priority Contacts – You can enter up to three Priority Contacts who will be able to call and interrupt you while you are driving. If a priority contact calls you while you are driving we will announce the call via a generic ZoomRinger. In phase 2 of the beta you will be able to create custom ZoomRingers for each of your priority contacts.

Inbound phone call management – While you are driving, we will suppress ringer/notification of all inbound callers who are not listed as Priority Contacts.

Inbound email/text message management – While you are driving, we will suppress messaging-related inbound alerts.

Auto-Responses – While you are driving, if people try and contact you via phone, email or text – they will receive an auto-response notifying them that you are focused on the road and driving with ZoomSafer.

I’m going to be alternating these apps and using them, to see what I think about them. I encourage you to try them with me, and make a difference. I’ll be sharing my review by next Sunday on both the ZoomSafer and the If you try them with me, I would really like you to share your comments on this post with me, share your findings and experience with them. Change begins with us, and even if we are not guilty of reading our texts or emails while we drive, we can begin showing the younger generation we care by taking advantage of software that is designed to help us and them. I know I’d feel better if I like the software and have my family using it as well. It’s assurance and relief. I’d really appreciate some comments and let me know if you’re joining me in this assignment this week.

Filed in: Beta, BlackBerry, BlackBerry Sync Store, Downloads, Free Apps, Reviews | Tags: , , , , ,

  • DavidB

    I don’t get what’s so hard about just not doing it? Come on people, we are supposed to be intelligent beings here. Put the damn thing away or turn it off! There is NOTHING that someone could possibly email or tweet or text to you that is so important it can’t wait for the next traffic light or for you to pull over to the side.

    And apps like these are a crutch. They agent a cure. All they do is make you THINK you are being a better person. You are still committing just as many mental resources, probably even MORE since now you have to think about how to get some app to do your texting for you.

    How about try this. Put your device on silent next time you’re getting in the car. Then put it in the trunk. Make your trip. If you’re desperate, pull over half way and check it but put it back. Now when you get to your destination, check your phone. Has the world ended? No. Were you safer on your trip? Undoubtedly.

  • Susan C

    With all due respect, I agree. However I have those friends who have to keep their phone in their hand, believe they know the keypad by heart. So if there’s a way to appeal to those users, I’m all for it. Some consumers are reliant on technology and this is the point I wanted to make.

  • Matt Howard

    The mere notion of people deploying software on their mobile phone to help them be more focused and less distracted when driving is “goldberg-esque” for sure.

    For those not familiar with the reference — a Rube Goldberg contraption is defined as an elaborate invention that turns a simple task into an extraordinarily complicated one.

    In ZoomSafer’s case we’ve developed software for mobile phones that automatically detects when you’re driving and applies policies designed to prevent otherwise intelligent people from doing stupid things — like texting back and forth while driving.

    Telling people to “stop” is obviously the simple solution.

    Giving them tools designed to “help them stop” is sadly the right answer.

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