Distraction-blocking apps put to the test

Distraction-blocking apps put to the test
Posted at 7:45 PM, Oct 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-18 13:42:44-04

Some of us are guilty of checking our phones while driving, even though we know it can be dangerous. It can especially be a problem for teenage drivers.

Driver's safety is a big concern for Don Pursley. "A little concerning as a parent to think there are still distractions out there," said Pursley. Pursley has two teenage kids, Justin and Laura, who have only been driving for a year or two.

"Snapchat is a big thing, texting," said Laura Purlsey. "We don't really call or use the phone much anymore." Laura says she waits until the car is off to do those things but she see's others typing away behind the wheel. "I see it a lot, while I'm driving around," she said.

So, we asked her to try out three free apps that promise to block texting and give parents more peace of mind.

We tested AT&T DriveMode App which is supposed to silence text alerts and sent automatic replies, telling your friends you're driving. But, Pursley gave it a thumbs down. "That one, didn't appear to prevent anything. Even on the screen, I saw the text," he said. The app also did not send an automatic reply.

The next app, Wonder, shows you when it's safe to text drivers. "My wife is concerned about the fact, she doesn't want to text our kids when she thinks they may be driving," he said. "This app would help with that."

The app worked. It showed a red dot and car at the top of the text thread, showing his son Justin is in a moving vehicle.

Finally, the SafeDrive app shows parents how fast their child is driving and the route they take. It worked, but Pursley still isn't sold on this one.

"It allows you to have a conversation but doesn't allow you to stop anything in advance," Pursley said.

While some of the apps will help, Pursley says he just has to trust his kids.

It's National Teen Driver Safety Week -- join us Saturday, Oct. 22 at Qualcomm Stadium for our free distracted driver course for teen drivers. Teens will get safety training and be able to participate in a hands-on driving course from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Open to those 15 and older who have a learner's permit. FOR MORE DETAILS