The latest tool to help parents and employers prevent texting while driving is a simple and intriguing item called TextBuster, just introduced at the SEMA aftermarket car show this year.
Consisting of a small module hidden under the dash and a downloadable phone app, TextBuster sends a blocking signal to the driver's phone via Bluetooth that prevents sending and receiving texts, email, and Internet access every time the user gets behind the wheel with their phone.
TextBuster does allow incoming and outgoing phone calls and access to navigation functions, and it does not prevent others in the vehicle from full use of their devices. The manufacturer says the module installs in minutes either by connecting two wires to the fuse box or by simply plugging it into the vehicle's OBD-II port.
Once installed, TextBuster provides monitoring and tracking information to a designated administrator, with route histories and speed alerts delivered by either text or email. The app is password protected to prevent unauthorized removal, for instance by a mischievous teen.
TextBuster is available now for Android devices. Blackberry and Windows versions are coming soon and iPhone compatibility is in the works. TextBuster retails for $179 if you're willing and able to connect two wires to the fuse panel, and $199 if you prefer the convenience of a plug-in version. There are no additional subscription fees.
For more on distracted driving, see our special section.