Free Software Stops Unsafe Employee Cell Phone Use

Posted on September 21, 2011
The phone dispaly when iZup is activated. Users can only call three pre-selected numbers and 911, and can only use GPS and navigation apps.

The phone dispaly when iZup is activated. Users can only call three pre-selected numbers and 911, and can only use GPS and navigation apps.

[Editor's Note: This app is no longer available, but you can find similar ones here. You can also find a guide ot the dangers of texting and driving here.]

NEEDHAM, Mass. — More than 2.5 billion text messages are sent daily in the U.S., and along with this growth comes an increase in distracted driving incidents that have killed more than 5,400 people and injured nearly 500,000 in 2009.

In response, Illume Software developed iZup, mobile software that manages distractions by holding incoming and outgoing communications while driving.

The iZup app uses GPS to detect a “velocity event,” i.e. a vehicle in motion, and activates the software which blocks all phone calls, text messages and Internet browsing. It automatically saves voice calls to voicemail while vehicles are in motion and holds data interactions, including text messages, until the product determines that the trip is completed. A customizable auto-response immediately notifies callers that the recipient is driving and will respond to the text when the trip is complete.

The program allows users to set up to three phone numbers on a “whitelist,” which means they are not blocked and can be contacted at the push of a button. A chauffeur could program their dispatch, their spouse or emergency contact, and the number of the clients on their next pickup. Communication with 911 is never blocked.

Chauffeurs have access to GPS and navigation apps on their phones but iZup blocks access to popular social networking and email applications. The full enterprise version of iZup only costs $20 per program per year.

Operators who aren’t sure if iZup enterprise fits into their budgets can try Illume’s newest offering, iZup Lite, a free GPS-based text blocking solution with auto-reply that is available in the Android Marketplace for all major carriers. But it does not screen out voice calls.
“iZup Lite, which is GPS-based and always on and running in the background, does not require the user to activate the program each time he or she gets behind the wheel,” said Daniel Ross, CEO, Illume Software. “This clearly eliminates the temptation for the driver to make an exception and not activate the program for just a short trip.”

Not only does this technology help prevent unnecessary crashes and injuries and fatalities resulting from those crashes, it protects companies from vicarious liability.

Watch this video on distracted driving risk and liability.

“Since our inception, we have worked to raise awareness of distracted driving and how technology plays a vital role in addressing this critical issue,” Ross said. “As Labor Day travel commences and the school year begins, we are pleased to provide this free solution to as many drivers as possible to enhance their safety and help comply with distracted driving laws now in place in 35 states.”

Mark Thirman, vice president of Illume, told LCT the company is working to enhance iZup throughout the year. “We were founded to make people safer,” he said. “If an [operator] uses iZup software, he or she can use it to differentiate his service from the next by, for example, putting a sticker on their vehicles that say something like, ‘This driver saves lives by not texting while driving because we use iZup.’ They can include it in their promotional materials to tell clients, ‘This is a safe vehicle.’”

iZup Lite is available immediately in the Android Marketplace and will soon be available in the Verizon VCAST marketplace.

SOURCES: Illume Software; Michael Campos, LCT assistant editor

Related Topics: distracted driving, mobile applications, mobile technology, smartphones, technology, text messaging

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